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LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS;
To which is now first added,
THE CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
" By all those token Flowers that tell
What words can never speak so well."
REVISED BY THE EDITOR OF * FORGET ME NOT. T
FIFTH AMERICAN EDITION.
LEA & BLANCHARD,
Successors to Carey & Co.
Printed by Haswell, Barrington, and Haswell.
When Nature laughs out in all the triumphs of
Spring, it may be said, without a metaphor, that,
in her thousand varieties of flowers, we see the
sweetest of her smiles ; that, through them, we
comprehend the exultation of her joys; and that,
by them, she wafts her songs of thanksgiving to
the heaven above her, which repays her tribute
of gratitude with looks of love. Yes, flowers,
have their language. Theirs is an oratory, that
speaks in perfumed silence, and there is tender-
ness, and passion, and even the lightheadedness
of mirth, in the variegated beauty of their voca-
bulary. To the poetical mind, they are not mute
to each other ; to the pious, they are not mute to.
their Creator : and ours shall be the office, in this
little volume, to translate their pleasing language,
and to show that no spoken word can approach
to the delicacy of sentiment to be inferred from a
flower seasonably offered ; that the softest impres-
sions may be thus conveyed without offence, and
even profound grief alleviated, at a moment when
the most tuneful voice would grate harshly on the
ear, and when the stricken soul can be soothed only
by unbroken silence.
In treating of so gay a subject, we will not make
a parade of our learning, to tell our fair readers
what fine things Pliny has said upon it ; or, in the
spirit of prosing, write a crabbed treatise upon the
Egyptian hieroglyphics. We will even spare them
a dissertation upon the Floral Alphabet of tbe effe-
minate Chinese ; they had, and have, their flowers
and their feelings, their emblems and their ecstacies.
Let them enjoy them. We shall do no more than
rove through the European Garden, to cull its beau-
ties, to arrange them into odoriferous significance,
and to teach our refined and purifying science to
•those fair beings, the symbols of whose mortal
beauty are but inadequately found in the most glori-
ous flowers, and whose mental charms cannot be
tluiy typified, till we shall have reached those abodes
where reigns everlasting spring, and where decay is
But little study will be requisite for the science
which we teach. Nature has been before us. We
must, however, premise two or three rules. When a
flower is presented in its natural position, the senti-
ment is to be understood affirmatively ; when re-
versed, negatively. For instance, a rose-bud, with
its leaves and thorns, indicates fear with hope ; but,
if reversed, it must be construed as saying " you
may neither fear nor hope." Again, divest the
same rose-bud of its thorns, and it permits the most
sanguine hope ; deprive it of its petals, and retain
the thorns, and the worst fears may be entertained.
The expression of every flower may be thus varied
by varying its state or position. The Marigold is
emblematical of pain ; place it on the head and it
signifies trouble of mind ; on the heart, the pangs of
love ; on the bosom, the disgusts of ennui. The
pronoun /is expressed by inclining the symbol to
the right, and the pronoun thou by inclining it to
These are a few of the rudiments of our signifi-
cant language. We call upon Friendship and Love
to unite their discoveries with ours ; for it is in the
power only of these sweetest sentiments of our na-
ture to bring to perfection what they have so beauti-
fully invented, the mystical, yet pleasing, links of
intelligence, that bind soul to soul, in the tender and
quiet harmony of the one, or in the more impas-
sioned felicity of the other.
By way of conclusion, it may be proper to remark,
that though this work is founded on a small French
volume, yet, from the alterations which have been
introduced, it cannot, strictly speaking, be called a
If we may believe modern interpreters, the
language of flowers was known to the ancients,
and it would appear that the Greeks understood
the art of communicating a secret message through
the medium of a bouquet. It is only necessary to
consult the Dream-book of Artemidorus to be con-
vinced that every individual flower of which the
wreaths of the ancients were composed conveyed
some particular meaning. At all events, it is evi-
dent that garlands were conspicuous in the emble-
matic devices of antiquity.
Our English poets have not neglected to avail
themselves of the emblematic language of flowers.
10 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
On this subject, a writer in one of our periodical
publications made, a few years since, the following
observations : — .
Shakspeare has evinced in several of his plays
a knowledge and a love of flowers, but in no in-
stance has he shown his taste and judgment in
the selection of them with greater effect than in
forming the coronal wreath of the lovely maniac
Ophelia. The Queen describes the garland as
composed of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long-
purples : and there can be no question that Shak-
speare intended them all to have an emblematic
The crow-flower is a species of lychnis, alluded
to by Drayton in his Polyolbion. The common
English name is meadow lychnis, or meadow cam-
pion. It is sometimes found double in our own
hedge-rows, but more commonly in France ; and
in this form we are told by Parkinson it was called
The fay re May tie of France. It is to this name
and to this variety that Shakspeare alludes in Ham-
The long-purples are commonly called dead men's
hands, or fingers.
"Our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them."
INTRODUCTION. 1 1
The daisy (or day's-eye) imports the pure virgi-
nity, or spring of life, as being itself the virgin
bloom of the year.
The intermixture of nettles requires no comment.
Admitting the correctness of this interpretation,
the whole is an exquisite specimen of emblematic
or picture-writing. They are all wild flowers, de-
noting the bewildered state of the beautiful Ophe-
lia's own faculties ; and the order runs thus, with
the meaning of each term beneath :
Ceow-flowees. Nettles. Dairies. Long-fueples.
•Pov^ i\To,7ri Q Stuns: to Her virsin Under the cold
J?ajreiua>ae the quick bloom hand of death.
" A fair maid stung to the quick ; her virgin bloom under
the cold hand of death."
It would be difficult to find a more emblematic
wreath for this interesting victim of disappointed
Jove and filial sorrow.
Flowers, the emblems and favourites of the fair,
are not every where prized merely for their beauty
and their perfume : in those regions where jealousy
and custom condemn women to close imprisonment,
and where love can employ only the language of
looks and signs, invention has created symbolic
12 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
phrases for expressing the sweet sentiments of the
heart. This language is most generally used by the
Turkish and Greek women in the Levant, and by
the African females on the coast of Barbary.
Castellan, in his " Letters on Greece," mentions
that when he was passing through the lovely valley
of Bujukderu on the Bosphorus, his attention was
attracted by a little country pleasure-house, sur-
rounded by a neat garden. Beneath one of the
grated windows stood a young Turk, who, after
playing a light prelude on the tambur, a sort of
mandoline, sang a love-song, in which the following
verse occurred : —
The nightingale wanders from flower to flower,
Seeking the rose, his heart's only prize ;*
Thus did my love change every hour,
Until I saw thee, light of my eyes !
No sooner was the song ended than a small white
hand opened the lattice of the window, and dropped
a bunch of flowers. The young Turk picked up
* Alluding to the love of the nightingale for the rose, which
is a favourite theme of the Oriental poets. The nightingale,
a bird of passage in the East, as with us, appears at the season
when the rose beains to blow.
the nosegay, and appeared to read in it some secret
message. He pressed it to his bosom, then fastened
it in his turban, and, after making some signs to-
wards the window, he withdrew. The young gal-
lant appeared from his dress to be nothing more
than a poor water-carrier. But the Turkish proverb
says that, however high a woman may rear her
head towards the clouds, her feet nevertheless touch
the earth. The girl was actually the daughter of a
rich Jew, worth a hundred thousand piastres.
A nosegay, a garland of flowers, ingeniously
selected, and put together for the purpose of com-
municating in secret and expressive language the
sentiments of the heart, is in the East called a Saam
(salutation). It often happens that a female slave,
the object of the Sultan's favour, corresponds openly
with her lover merely by the various arrangement of
flower-pots in a garden. Written love-letters would
often be inadequate to convey an idea of the pas-
sionate feelings which are thas expressed through
the medium of flowers. Thus, orange flowers sig-
nify hope ; marigolds, despair ; sunflowers, con-
stancy ; roses, beauty ; and tulips represent the
complaints of infidelity.
This hieroglyphic language is known only to the
14 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
lover and his mistress. In order to envelope it the
more completely in the veil of secrecy, the significa-
tions of the different flowers are changed, in con-
formity with a preconcerted plan : for example, the
rose is employed to express the idea which would
otherwise be attached to the amaranth, the gilli-
flower is substituted for the pomegranate blos-
The language of flowers is much employed in
the Turkish harems, where the women practise it
either for the sake of mere diversion In their
solitude, or for the purpose of secret communica-
La Motraie, the companion of Charles XII., and
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, were the first who
gave celebrity in Europe to the language of flowers.
The few examples cited by Lady Montagu are not
calculated to afford a clear and accurate idea of the
principles on which this language is founded. Its
spirit consists not, as might naturally be supposed,
in the connexion which fancy may trace between
particular flowers and certain thoughts and feelings.
Such an idea never entered the heads of the fair
inventresses of the oriental language of flowers.
They have contented themselves with merely taking
a word which may happen to rhyme with the name
of any particular flower or fruit, and then filling up
the given rhyme with some fanciful phrase corres-
ponding with its signification. The language there-
fore consists not of individual words, but of whole
phrases ; and a flower or fruit expresses an idea
suggested by the word with which its name happens
to rhyme. Thus, for instance, the word Armonde
(Pear) rhymes among other words with Omonde
(hope) ; and this rhyme is filled up as follows : —
" Armonde — Wer bana bir Omonde ;" (Pear — Let
me not despair.)
The Turkish dialect, being rich in rhymes, pre-
sents a multitude of words corresponding in sound
with the names of flowers, or any other objects that
may be selected ; but these rhymes are not all ad-
mitted into the language of flowers, and the
knowledge of this language consists in being ac-
quainted with the proper rhyme. The vocabulary
is not extensive, for the whole language scarcely
exceeds a hundred signs and phrases. The cele-
brated orientalist, Mr. Von Hammer, collected from
the Greek and Armenian women who are permitted
to visit the harems, many of the phrases of this
16 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
curious language, which have been published with a
French and German translation, in the Miscellany
entitled " Mines of the East."
In India, which may be regarded as the cradle of
poetry, we are informed that it is customary to
express, by the combination of flowers, those senti-
ments of the heart which are regarded as too refined
and sacred to be communicated through the common
medium of words. The young females of Amboyna
are singularly ingenious in the art of conversing in
the love-language of flowers and fruits. Yet this
language, like that employed in Turkey and in
other parts of the East, bears no resemblance to that
with which we have hitherto been acquainted in Eu-
rope ; though, according to the received notion, we
were indebted for our first knowledge of this lan-
guage to the Crusaders and to pilgrims who visited
the Holy Land.
In early times it was customary in Europe to
employ particular colours for the purpose of ex-
pressing certain ideas and feelings. The enamoured
knight indicated his passion by wearing a red and
violet scarf — if he made choice of a reddish-gray
colour, it was to denote that love bad urged him to
the combat — on the other hand, the combination of
yellow, green, and violet, proclaimed that the knight
returned triumphant from the conflict, and had
gained the reward of love.
In France, where the symbolical meaning of
colours was formed into a regular system, great
importance was attached lo the art of expressing
ideas by the selection of particular colours for
dresses, trimmings, &c. Francis L, however, broke
through all the rules of etiquette on this point. In
the reign of that monarch, widows were permitted
to wear any colours and stuffs they pleased for
under-garments, and for gowns they were at liberty
to choose one of two colours, a privilege which they
had not previously enjoyed. In course of time, the
practice of adopting colours for the purpose of
emblematic representations gradually declined, and
was observed only in the choice of arms and liveries,
in which it has been retained, with certain modifi-
cations, to the present day.
In the ages of chivalry, red was highly esteemed
as the colour of love, and accordingly, the rose was,
on account of its tint, a favourite emblem. Thus,
in the romance of Perceforet, a hat adorned with
18 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
roses is celebrated as a favourite gift of love ; and, in
Amadia de Gaul, the captive Oriana is represented
as throwing to her lover a rose wet with tears, as
the sweetest pledge of her unalterable faith. The
various allegorical meanings which were in the
middle ages attached to the rose are described in the
celebrated Romaunt de la Rose, which was com-
menced, in the year 1620, by Guillaume de Lorris,
and finished, forty years later, by Jean de Meun.
In the famous German Heldenbuch, or Book of
Heroes, which is supposed to have been chiefly
written by Henry von Ofterdingen, the Rose Gar-
den of Wurms holds a distinguished place. The
garden was encircled by a silken thread instead of a
wall, and the victorious Knights who defended it
against the encroachments of a party of giants
were, by Princess Chrymhilde, rewarded with a
chaplet of roses and a kiss. One of the knights,
named Hildebrandt, is described as having accepted
the chaplet but declined the salute. A monk,
named Ilsan, however, who was one of the tri-
umphant warriors, not satisfied with the rewards
conferred on himself, demanded a chaplet and a kiss
for each of the fifty-two monks of the convent to
which he belonged. It is added that Chrymhilde
granted this boon; though not until Usan had
fought and conquered fifty-two of the offending
In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, tourna-
ments lost much of the sanguinary character which
had previously distinguished them. They became
merely entertainments for the celebration of court
festivals ; and the combatants gained the prize of
victory, not by wounds and bloodshed, but by bro-
ken lances, the fragments of which were presented
to them as trophies of success. It was the etiquette
of early times for a knight, on entering the lists at
a tournament, to beg permission to wear the colours
of the lady to whose service he was devoted ; but
this practice was gradually succeeded by that of
wearing about the person any pledge of love which
the knight solicited from his mistress, or which the
latter spontaneously presented to him. This cus-
tom of giving and wearing favours was kept up
until the middle of the seventeenth century. Vari-
ous changes of fashion took place with respect to
the objects which were thus presented as pledges of
regard ; and if Bayard, the " knight without fear
and without reproach," obtained from the lady of his
heart a pair of elegant bracelets and a silken purse —
20 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
the favoured knight of a more recent age received
from the hand of his mistress the less costly gift of
a simple flower. The presents given in this manner
by ladies to their favourite champions were soon
converted into emprises, or devices, and were worn
on those parts of the dress or armour which an ad-
versary was obliged to touch when he challenged
the possessor of the emprise to single combat.
In France, during the middle ages, flowers were
much employed as emblems of love and gallantry.
At the banquet given in celebration of the marriage
of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, with the
English Princess Margaret, several ingenious auto-
mata were introduced — among others was a large
unicorn, bearing on its back a leopard, which held
in one claw the standard of England, and in the
other a daisy, the French name of which is Mar-
guerite. The unicorn, having gone round all the
tables, halted before the Duke, and one of the mai-
tres iVhutel, taking the daisy from the leopard's
claw, presented it, with a complimentary address, to
the royal bridegroom.
In Spain, gallantry was forced to take a different
direction ; for there the fair sex were kept under
such rigid restraint, that a lover scarcely ever had
an opportunity of making a verbal declaration to his
mistress. Recourse was therefore had to an expres-
sive kind of pantomimic language, which was learned
by children of both sexes at a very early age. By
this method lovers were enabled to hold communi-
cation with each other for years without ever inter-
changing a syllable. In the reign of Charles II.,
however, the Spanish ladies were allowed a greater
degree of freedom ; and the Guapos, or gallants of
Madrid, who adopted the fashion of wearing flowers
in their hats, used to assemble in the evening on
the Prado, and to present nosegays to the ladies in
The practice of conversing by gestures and signs
was introduced by the Spaniards into Brussels,
where the Duke of Orleans and the French noble-
men of his suite availed themselves of this silent
language to pay court to the ladies at their win-
The Italian and Sicilian females, who were not
less closely guarded than the Spanish women, also
practised a pantomimic language, and adopted the
use of flowers in love affairs. In Genoa, it was no
unusual thing for a lady to throw a nosegay openly
22 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
to her lover, and this token was received by the
grateful favourite with a low bow.
Plants may in many respects be regarded as be-
ings closely allied to man, and they frequently exer-
cise an important influence over us. The following
remarks on this subjectet suggested themselves to
Matthisson, the German poet, while journeying
along the Cosa to Domo d'Ossola. " The beautiful
cyclamen, which blooms along both sides of the
road, continually reminded me of the delightful
summer day which I spent in company with Salis
and his wife, at a shepherd's hut in the neighbour-
hood of Malans, where for the lirst time I saw this
flower growing wild. I have never since beheld the
cyclamen without being reminded of the beloved
friends with whom I first plucked and examined it,
and of the smiling landscape with which we were
surrounded. There are various other plants, the
sight of which also revives in my mind recollections
of dear and interesting persons, and which brings
the scenes of early youth forcibly before me, as the
strains of the Hans des Vaches, when heard in a
foreign country, remind the Swiss peasant of his
"Numerous examples might be adduced to prove
that, in the power of exciting past recollections, the
sight of a flower has often a more magic effect than
even the favourite melodies of our youth. I myself
know a young lady who, though entirely free from
nervous weakness, could never look at a carnation
without bursting into tears, because she was pluck-
ing a flower of that kind at the moment when she
was informed of her mother's death. The sight of
the periwinkle always produced pleasingly painful
feelings in Rousseau's mind ; and Bougainville's
South Sea Islander, on being taken to the Botanic
Garden in Paris, knelt before an Otaheitean plant,
and kissed it as fondly as he would have kissed the
lips of a beloved mistress. It would be impossible
to describe the many delightful ideas and recollec-
tions for which, during my solitary journeys, I have
been indebted to the chronicle of Flora."
A flower-garden may be compared to a pano-
rama of hieroglyphics, displaying not the miserable
worldly wisdom of mortals, inscribed in dead cha-
racters, but the maxims of immortal philosophy,
exhibited in living forms with all their peculiar
varieties. Fancy traces a symbolic resemblance
24 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
between man and the forms and motions of all the
natural objects in the creation ; and, to borrow
Chateaubriand's bold metaphor, the whole universe
may be considered as the imagination of the Deity
rendered visible ; yet certainly this similarity is
most particularly striking in the vegetable world.
The most superficial observer cannot fail to per-
ceive that plants present faithful emblems of the
various stages of human life, and the most remarka-
ble peculiarities in our physical formation, and in
our moral relations to each other.
In those southern regions, where every living
being feels the influence of vital heat and the
exciting oxygen which pervades the atmosphere
— where the genial climate, with scarcely any
change of seasons, liberally provides for the support
of man — Nature presents her vegetable hierogly-
phics in the most marked and permanent characters.
The contemplation of the starry canopy of heaven
is calculated to inspire every reflecting mind with
the sublimest ideas of immortality. When the at-
tractions of all transitory objects are veiled in the
gloom of night — when, amidst the stillness of
Nature, the voice of God resounds in the rustling
of the trees and the murmuring of the swelling,
billows — the soul seems to wing its way towards
the realms of eternity, and the virtuous mind is
impressed with a deeper consciousness of its moral
dignity. This trait in the human mind is typified
in the vegetation of the East, by a tree to which
the Turks, Arabians, Persians, and Malays give
various names, and which we distinguish by the
appellation of the Sorrowful Tree, (Nyctanthes
arbor tristis, L.) It resembles the cherry-tree in
form ; but it is of much larger size. Its flowers,
which resemble the orange blossom, are white, with
a reddish tint at the bottom of the calyx, and their
prefume is like that of the evening primrose. This
tree possesses the peculiar property of blooming and
emitting its delightful fragrance during the night.
Plants that wake when others sleep ;
Like timid jasmine buds that keep
Their odour to themselves all day.
But, when the sun-light dies away,
Let the delicious secret out
To every breeze that roams about.
The first bud of the sorrowful Tree opens as
26 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
soon as the first star appears in the heavens,
and, as the shades of night advance, and the stars
thickly stud the sky, the buds continue gradually
blowing until the whole tree presents the appear-
ance of one immense flower — the flower of a
world, compared with which our earth would be but
a football. On the approach of morning when the
brilliancy of the stars gradually fades in the light of
day, the Sorrowful Tree closes its flowers ; and,
when the first beam of the rising sun appears, not
a single blossom is visible. A sheet of flower-dust,
as white as snow, covers the ground around the
foot of the tree, which seems blighted and withered
during the day, while, however, it is invisibly and
actively preparing for its next nocturnal festival.
If this tree is cut down close to the roots, a new
plant shoots up and attains maturity in an almost
incredibly short space of time : like the truly
great man, who, though he may be for a while
bowed down by the storms of fate, will soon recover
and flourish in his wonted glory. In the vicinity of
this singular tree, there usually grows another,
which is probably a degenerate scion of the same
species. In appearance it exactly resembles the
Sorrowful Tree, though it is less beautiful. It
blooms only in the day time, thus presenting an
emblem of those persons who seem created only to
enjoy the garish light of day, and who suffer the
luminaries of night to diffuse their serener radiance
unheeded and unseen.
Though we dwell not on the luxuriant banks
of the Tigris, where, in the spring, the whole
country exhibits the appearance of a richly vari-
egated and perfumed flower-bed : yet even in
the less fertile regions of the North the gifts of Flora
are sufficiently abundant and diversified to enable
us to create from them a language for the expres-
sion of those sentiments to which the tongue
cannot always venture to give utterance. Every
flower seems naturally to present some particular
emblematic meaning ; and, in the combination
of a garland or nosegay, it is no difficult matter to
compose a riddle, the solution of which may afford
an agreeable exercise to the fancy.
If, for example, a lady should receive from her
lover a bouquet consisting of roses, lilies, laurel,
and forget-me-not; the meaning of the present
might be thus interpreted : the flower of inno-
cence, when kissed by the rose, blushes as thou
28 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS'r
wouldst blush at the approach of love ; the proud
laurel denotes thy beauty's triumph ; and the
tender forget-me-not is the emblem of eternal
This idea of rendering flowers the vehicle of a
lover's sentiments has been thus happily seized by
one of our early English poets :
Aske me why I send you here
This firstling of the infant year ;
Aske me \\ hy I send to you
This Primrose all bepeaiTd with dew ;
1 strait will whisper in your ears,
The sweets of love are washt with teares.
Aske me why this flow'r doth show
So yellow, green and sickly too ;
Aske me why the stalk is weak,
And bending, yet it doth not break ;
I must tell you, these discover
What doubts and fears are in a Lover.
The following lines from Drayton's Muses Ely-
sium may afford some useful hints for the arrange-
ment of a bouquet, with regard to the harmonious
blending of the tints of the different flowers. A
nymph is supposed to be speaking :
Here damask roses, white and red,
Out of my lap first take I,
Which still shall run along the thread:
My chiefest flower this make I.
Amongst these roses in a row,
Next place I pinks in plenty,
These double pansies then for show,
And will not this be dainty?
The pretty pansy then I'll tye
Like stones some chain inchasing;
And next to them, their near ally,
The purple violet, placing.
The curious choice clove Julyflower,
Whose kindhight the carnation,
For sweetness of most sovereign power,
Shall help my wreath to fashion ;
Whose sundry colours of one kind,
First from one root derived,
Them in their several suits I'll bind :
My garland so contrived.
A course of cowslips then I'll stick,
And here and there (though sparely)
The pleasant primrose down I'll prick,
Like pearls that will show rarely;
30 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Then with these marigolds I'll make
My garland somewhat swelling,
These honeysuckles then I'll take,
Whose sweets shall help their smelling.
The lily and the fleur-de-lis,
For colour much contenting,
For that I them do only prize,
They are but poor in scenting ;
The daffodil most dainty is,
To match with these in meetness;
The columbine compared to this,
All much alike for sweetness.
These in their natures only are
Fit to emboss the border,
Therefore I'll take especial care
To place them in their order:
Sweet-williams, campions, sops in-wine,
One by another neatly :
Thus have I made this wreath of mine,
And finished it featly.
The practice of divination by flowers is not al-
together unconnected with the floral language which
forms the principal subject of this little volume. It
is customary in some countries to pluck off the leaves
of the marigold or any flower of the aster kind, while
certain words are repeated, in order to ascertain the
character or inclination of the individual. Gbthe has
touched upon this superstition in his tragedy of
Faust, in which Margaret plucks off the leaves of a
flower, at the same time alternately repeating the
words : — " He loves me." — " He loves me not." On
coming to the last leaf she joyfully exclaims — " He
loves me !" and Faust says : " Let this flower pro-
nounce the decree of heaven !"
This circumstance has been chosen by Retsch for
the subject of one of his exquisite sketches for the
illustration of Faust, to an engraving of which Miss
Landon wrote a little poem entitled " The Decision
of the Flower," containing these lines :
And with scarlet poppies around, like a bower,
The maiden found her mystic flower;
" Now, gentle flower, I pray thee tell
If my lover loves me, and loves me well ;
So may the fall of the morning dew
Keep the sun from fading thy tender blue,
Now I number the leaves for my lot —
He loves not — he loves me— he loves rae not —
LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
He loves me— yes, thou last leaf, yes—
I'll pluck thee not for the last sweet guess!
He loves me !"_" Yes," a dear voice sighed,
And her lover stands by Margaret's side.
In some countries the following mode of divina-
tion is resorted to. The lover, male or female, who
wishes to ascertain the character of the beloved ob-
ject, chooses or draws by lot one of the following
2. Wild Pink.
4. Blue Cornflower.
5. Wild Orach.
13. Spanish Vetch,
24. Everlasting Flower.
The disposition of the individual in question will
be found in the subjoined list at the number corres-
ponding with that of the flower, which has either
been chosen or allotted by chance.
The following pages will explain the emblematic
significations which have been attributed to different
flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees ; and the various
combinations which these meanings may suggest
will, it is presumed, furnish a pleasing exercise for
the ingenuity of our fair readers.
LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Here Spring appears, with flowery chaplets bound,
Fresh Spring, the herald of love's mighty king,
In whose cote-armour richly are display'd
All sorts of flowers the which on earth do spring,
In goodly colours gloriously array'd.
Now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
These balmy spoils.
Who loves not Spring's voluptuous hours,
The carnival of birds and flowers ?
36 LANGUAGE OF FLOWEES.
Though the Snowdrop cannot, perhaps, strictly
speaking, be called one of the flowers of spring, still,
as the herald of that season, we may be excused for
placing it at the head of them.
Fair-handed Spring unbosom's every grace,
Throws out the snowdrop and the crocus first.
As Flora's breath by some transforming power.
Had changed an icicle into a flower,
Its name and hue the scentless plant retains,
And winter lingers in its icy chains.
The snowdrop, Winter's timid child,
Awakes to life, bedewed with tears,
And flings around its fragrance mild;
And, where no rival flow'rets bloom,
Amidst the bare and chilling gloom,
A beauteous gem appears.
All weak and wan with head inclined,
Its parent breast the drifted snow,
It trembles, while the ruthless wind
Bends its slim form ; the tempest lowers,
Its emerald eye drops crystal showers
On its cold bed below.
Where'er I find thee, gentle flower,
Thou still art sweet and dear to me !
For 1 have known the cheerless hour,
Have seen the sunbeams cold and pale,
Have felt the chilling wintry gale,
And wept and shrunk, like thee !
This firstling of the year may not inaptly be con-
sidered as an emblem of hope. Some have regarded
it as a symbol of humility, of gratitude, and of virgin
The north wind howls ; the naked branches of the
trees are powdered with hoar frost ; the earth is
covered by a white, uniform carpet ; the tuneful
birds are silent ; the captive rivulet ceases to mur-
mur. At this season, when all Nature appears dead,
a delicate flower springs up amidst the snow, dis-
playing to the astonished eye its ivory bells, embo-
soming a small green spot, as if marked by the pencil
of Hope. In expanding its blossoms on the snow,
this delicate flower seems to smile at the rigours of
winter, and to say : — " Take courage ; here I am to
cheer you with the hope of milder weather !"
38 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS,
COQUETRY DESIRE TO PLEASE.
The stalk of this shrub is covered with a dry bark,
which gives to it the appearance of dead wood. Na-
ture, to hide this deformity, has encirled each of its
sprays with a garland of red flowers, wreathed round
them and terminating in a small tuft of leaves, in the
manner of the pine-apple. These flowers, which
appear in the month of February, give out a pecu-
liar and dangerous smell.
This shrub, clothed in its showy garb, appears
amidst the snow like an imprudent and coquettish
female, who, though shivering with cold, wears her
spring attire in the depth of winter.
From the early bloom of this flower, it is called
by Linneus, the father of the modern system of bo-
tany, primula Veris — the firstling of Spring. The
Auricula, Polyanthus, and Cowslip, belong to this
The Primrose was anciently called Paralisos, the
name of a beautiful youth, who died of grief for the
loss of his betrothed Melicerta, and was metamor-
phosed by his parents into this flower, which has
since divided the favour of the poets with the Violet
and the Rose.
Beneath the sylvan canopy, the ground
Glitters with flowery dyes ; the Primrose first,
In mossy dell, return of Spring to greet.
The Primrose pale is Nature's meek and modest child.
The Primrose, tenant of the glade,
Emblem of virtue in the shade.
40 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Shakspeare makes the Primrose a funeral flower
With fairest flowers.
Whilst summer lasts, and I live here, Fidele,
I'll sweeten thy sad grave : thou shalt not lack
The flower that's like thy face pale primrose.
The Almond-tree is the first of the frees to obey
the call of early spring. Nothing can be more grace-
ful than this beautiful tree when it appears covered
with blossoms, while the surrounding trees are still
quite naked. It has been made the emblem of in-
discretion, from flowering so early that frosts too
often destroy the precious germs of its fruit, though,
instead of injuring its flowers, they seem to confer
on the latter additional beauty.
According to Moore, the Almond blossom is the
emblem of hope —
The hope, in dreams of a happier hour,
That alights on Misery's brow,
Springs out of the silvery almond-flower.
That blooms on a leafless bough.
In ancient times, the abundance of blossom on
this tree was considered as the promise of a fruitful
42 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Mark well the flowering almond in the wood ;
If odorous blooms the bearing branches load,
The glebe will answer to the sylvan reign,
Great heats will follow, and large crops of grain.
But if a wood of leaves o'ershade the tree,
Such and so barren will the harvest be,
In vain the hind shall vex the threshing floor,
For empty straw and chaff will be thy store.
Fable confers an affecting origin on this tree. It
relates that Demophoon, son of Theseus and Phaedra,
in returning from the siege of Troy, was thrown by
a storm on the shores of Thrace, where then reigned
the beautiful Phyllis. The young queen graciously
received the prince, fell in love with him, and be-
came his wife. When recalled to Athens by his
father's death, Demophoon promised to return in a
month, and fixed the day. The affectionate Phyllis
counted the hours of his absence, and at last the
appointed day arrived. Nine times she repaired to
the shore ; but, losing all hope of his return, she
dropped down dead with grief, and was turned into
an Almond-tree. Three months afterwards, Demo-
phoon returned. Overwhelmed with sorrow, he of-
fered a sacrifice at the sea-side, to appease the manes
of his bride. She seemed to sympathise with his
repentance : for the Almond-tree, into which she had
been transformed, instantly put forth its flowers,
and proved by this last effort that true love, « strong
as death," is incapable of change.
44 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The Weeping Willow is a native of the East,
where it was not only planted near the water, but
also near the graves of the dead, over which its
branches drooped as in token of mourning and afflic-
tion, producing an appropriate and picturesque effect.
It is called by Linneus the Willow of Babylon
(Salix Babylonica,) in allusion to that affecting
passage in the 137th Psalm, where the captive chil-
dren of Israel are represented as hanging their harps
upon the willows, and sitting down beside the waters
of Babylon to weep the separation from their be-
Silent their harps— each cord unstrung,
On pendent willow-branches hung.
On the willow thy harp is suspended —
O Salem ! its sound should be free,
And the hour when thy glories were ended
But left me that token of thee ;
And ne'er shall its soft notes be blended
With the voice of the spoiler by me.
WEEPING WILLOW. 45
Forsaken lovers are represented by our earlier
poets as wearing wreaths of Willow.
In love, the sad, forsaken wight
The Willow-garland weareth.
I offered him my company to a Willow-tree, to make him
a garland, as being forsaken.
In such a night.
Stood Dido, with a Willow in her hand,
Upon the wild sea-banks, and waved her love
To come again to Carthage.
I'll wear the Willow garland for his sake.
The Arabs have a particular tradition relative to
the origin of the Weeping Willow. This tradition
is founded on the story of Bathsheba, and cor-
responds with the account given in the Old Testa-
ment of the manner in which she became the wife
of David and the mother of Solomon. It then pro-
ceeds thus : — One morning, the king was seated
as usual at his harp, composing psalms, when he
46 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
perceived to his astonishment two strangers seated
opposite to him on the divan. As strict orders
were issued that no person whatever should be
admitted during the first four hours of the day,
David wondered greatly how the strangers had
gained access to his closet. They rose, and
begged pardon for having entered unannounced,
because they had an urgent complaint to lay
before him. David quitted the harp, and placed
himself on his judgment seat. " This man," began
one of them, " has ninety-nine sheep, which plenti-
fully supply all his wants ; while I, poor wretch,
had but one that was my joy and comfort, and that
one he has forcibly taken from me." At the men-
tion of the ninety-nine sheep, David could not help
thinking of the flock of his harem. He recognized
in the strangers two angels of the Lord, and was
sensible of the heinousness of his offence. Forth-
with [he threw himself upon the floor, and shed
tears of bitter repentance. There he lay for forty days
and forty nights upon his face, weeping and trem-
bling before the judgment of the Lord. As many
tears of repentance as the whole human race have
shed, and will shed on account of their sins, from
the time of David till the judgment day, so many
WEEPING WILLOW. 47
did David weep in those forty days, all the while
moaning forth psalms of penitence. The tears
from his eyes formed two streams, which ran from
the closet into the ante-room, and thence into the
garden. Where they sank into the ground, there
sprang up two trees, the Weeping Willow and the
Frankincense Tree. The first weeps and mourns ;
and the second is incessantly shedding big tears, in
memory of the sincere repentance of David.
48 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Iosr, the Greek name of this flower, is traced by
some etymologists to la, the daughter of Midas, who
was betrothed to Atys, and changed by Diana into
a Violet to hide her from Apollo. The beautiful
modest flower still retains the bashful timidity of the
nymph, partially concealing itself amidst foliage
from the garish gaze of the sun. Hence it has been
ingeniously given as a device to an amiable and
witty lady of a timid and reserved disposition, sur-
rounded with the motto — II faut me chercher — I
must be sought after.
A woman's love, deep in the heart.
Is like the Violet flower,
That lifts its modest head apart
In some sequestered bower.
Unhappy fate of doubtful maid!
Her tears ma} - fall, her bosom swell ;
But even so the desert shade
She never must her secret tell.
The White Violet is also made the emblem of
innocence ; and, from the following lines, by a poet
of the sixteenth century, it appears to have been con-
sidered as a symbol of constancy :
Violet is for faithfulness,
Which in me shall abide ;
Hoping likewise that from your heart
You will not let it slide.
The poetry, the romance, and the scenery, of every
country are embroidered with Violets.
But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes,
Or Cytherea's breath.
From several other passages in Shakspeare's
works, it is evident that the Violet was a favourite
with our grand dramatist. We doubt if the poetry
of any language can produce lines more exquisitely
beautiful than these, in which he compares the soft
strains of plaintive music to the perfume of Violets : —
That strain again !— it had a dying fall!—
Oh ! it came o'er my ear like the sweet south,
That breathes upon a bank of Violets,
Stealing and giving odour.
50 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
It has a scent, as though Love for its dower
Had on it all his odorous arrows tost ;
For, though the rose has more perfuming power,
The Violet (haply 'cause 'tis almost lost,
And takes us so much trouble to discover)
Stands first with most, but always with a lover.
At the Floral Games instituted at Toulouse in the
early part of the fourteen century, in the time of the
Troubadours, the prize awarded to the author of
the best poetical composition consisted of a golden
Violet, to which several other prizes were afterwards
added by Clemence Isaure. This festival, inter-
rupted by the Revolution was revived in 1806,
and is still held annually in the town-house of
Fabulous history informs us that the Daisy-
owed its origin to Belides, one of the nymphs called
Dryads, who were supposed to preside over meadows
and pastures. While dancing on the turf with
Ephigeus, whose suit she encouraged, she attracted
the admiration of Vertumnus, the deity who presided
over orchards ; and to escape from him, she was
transformed into the humble flower, the Latin name
of which is Bellis. The ancient English name of
this flower was Day's Eye, in which way it is writ-
ten by Ben ' Jonson ; and Chaucer calls it the " ee
of the daie." No doubt it received this designation
from its habit of closing its petals at night, which it
also does in rainy weather.
The Daisy has always been a favourite with
poets. Shakspeare speaks of it as the flower
Whose white investments figure innocence.
52 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Star of the mead ! — sweet daughter of the day,
Whose opeaiqg flower invites the morning ray,
From thy moist cheek and bosom's chilly fold
To kiss the tears of Eve, the dew-drops cold,
Sweet Daisy !
When, smitten by the morning ray,
I see thee rise, alert and gay,
Then, cheerful flower ! my spirits play
With kindred gladness :
And when, at dark, by dews opprest,
Thou sink'st, the image of thy rest
Hath often eased my pensive breast
Of careful sadness.
O'er waste and woodland, rock and plain,
Its humble buds unheeded rise ;
The rose has but a summer reign —
The Daisy never dies.
Not worlds on worlds in Phalanx deep
Need we to prove a God is here ;
The Daisy, fresh from Winter's sleep,
Tells of his hand in lines as clear.
For who but He who arched the skies,
And pours the day-spring's living flood,
Wondrous alike in all he tries,
Could raise the Daisy's purple bud !
Mould its green cup, its wiry stem,
Its fringed border nicely spin,
And cut the gold-embossed gem
That, set in silver, gleams within ;
And fling it unrestrained and free,
O'er hill and dale, and desert sod,
That Man, where'er he walks, may see
In every step the stamp of God !
Malvina bending over the tomb of Fingal, wept
for the valiant Oscar, and a son of Oscar's who
never beheld the light of day.
The maids of Morven, to soothe her grief, assem-
bled around her, and sang the death of the hero and
of the new-born infant.
The hero is fallen, said they, he is fallen ! The
crash of his arms hath rung over the plain. He is
beyond the reach of disease, which enfeebles the
soul — of old age, which dishonours the brave. He
has fallen, and the crash of his arms hath rung over
the plain. In the palace of clouds, where dwell
his ancestors, he now quaffs with them the cup of
immortality. Dry the tears of thy grief, daughter
of Toscar ! The hero is fallen ! — he is fallen ! — and
the crash of his arms hath rung over the plain !
54 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Then, in a softer tone, they said to her : — The
child which hath not seen the light hath not known
the sorrows of life : his young spirit, borne aloft on
glittering wings, soars to the abodes of everlasting
day. The souls of infants who, like thine, have
burst without pain the bonds of life, reclining on
golden clouds, appear and open to him the myster-
ious portal of the manufactory of flowers. There
these innocents are continually employed in enclos-
ing the flowers that the next spring shall bring
forth in imperceptible germs : these germs they
scatter every morning over the earth with the tears
of the dawn. Millions of delicate hands enwrap the
rose in its bud, the grain of corn in its husk, the
mighty oak in a single acorn, a whole forest in an
We have seen him, Malvina ! — we have seen,
the infant whom thou mournest, borne on a light
mist : he approached, and poured upon our fields
a fresh harvest of flowers. Behold, Malvina ! —
among these flowers there is one with golden disk,
encircled with rays of silver, tipped with a delicate
tint of crimson. Waving amid the grass in a gentle
beeeze, it looks like a little child playing in a green
meadow. Dry thy tears, Malvina ! — the hero
died covered with his arms ; and the flower of
thy bosom has given a new flower to the hills of
And the grief of Malvina was soothed by these
songs, and she repeated the song of the new-born.
Since that day the daughters of Morven have
consecrated the Daisy to infancy. It is, they
say, the flower of innocence, the flower of the new-
56 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
THINK OF ME.
The Heart' s-ease, Viola tricolor, or Pansy, from
the French Pensee, is a beautiful variety of the
Violet, differing from it in the diversity of its colours,
the petals being chiefly yellow variegated with black
and purple. In fragrance, however, it is far inferior
to the Violet. One species of the Pansy is entirely
And there are pansies, that's for thoughts.
And thou, so rich in gentle names, appealing
To hearts that own our nature's common lot ;
Thou, styled by sportive Fancy's better feeling
A Thought, the Heart's Ease, and Forget Me Not.
The fanciful origin of the colour of this flower is
thus described by our great bard.
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm'd ; a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned in the West.
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts.
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quench'd in the chaste beams of the wat'ry moon.
And the imperial vot'ress passed on.
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love's wound,
And maidens call it Love in Idleness.
The juice of it, on sleeping eyelids laid.
Will make or man or woman madly doat
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
In the year 1815, this flower furnished occasion
for a tragi-comic occurrence in France. A school-
master in a provincial town had proposed as a theme
for his pupils a description of the Viola Tricolor.
and given them as a motto the following passage
from a Latin poem by Father Rapin, entitled " The
Flosque Jovis varius, folii tricoloris, et ipsi
The mayor of the town was informed of the cir-
cumstance ; and, taking it into his head that the
object of the schoolmaster was to excite insurrection
against the government of the lately-restcred Louis
58 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
XVIII., this sage functionary ordered the poor man
to be apprehened. The mayor construed the verses
above quoted in the following manner : — Flos Jovis,
the flower of Jupiter, was of course the flower of
Napoleon ; folii tricoloris denoted as evidently the
three-coloured cockade ; et ipsipar violas, was a mani-
fest allusion to la pere la violette, as Bonaparte was
then called, because his partisans had adopted this
flower as a sign of their attachment, and carried it
in their button-holes or in their bosoms. Astonished
and confounded as the poor schoolmaster at first was
at his arrest, he could not forbear smiling at this
comic interpretation of the above passage of his
worship, the mayor.
/>,//,>.' ///>/tt///', ///■/<////,/// t>i mkyorlunt 'Jytts //>/,//,,■/>
FIDELITY IN MISFORTUNE.
The Wallflower derives its name from the cir-
cumstance of its growing upon old walls, and being
seen on the casements or battlements of ancient
castles, among the ruins of abbeys, and on turrets,
and cottages. Hence the minstrels and troubadours
were accustomed to wear a bouquet of Wallflowers,
as the emblem of an affection which is proof against
time and misfortune.
Modern poets have not been backward to acknow-
ledge the merits of this beautiful and fragrant
To me it speaks of loveliness,
That passes not with youth,
Of beauty which decay can bless,
Of constancy and truth.
60 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
But, in adversity's dark hour,
When glory is gone by,
It then exerts its gentle power
The scene to beautify.
An emblem true thou art
Of love's enduring lustre, given
To cheer a lonely heart.
And our friend Moir (Delta of Blackwood's
Magazine) pays this feeling tribute to the Wall-
The Wallflower, the Wallflower !
How beautiful it blooms!
It gleams above the ruined tower,
Like sunlight over tombs ;
It sheds a halo of repose
Around the wrecks of time ;
To beauty give the flaunting rose—
The Wallflower is sublime.
Flower of the solitary place!
Gray Ruin's golden crown,
That lendest melancholy grace
To haunts of old Renown :
Thou mantlest o'er the battlement,
By strife or storm decay'd ;
And fillest up each envious rent
Time's canker tooth hath made.
Whither hath fled the choral band
That fill'd the abbey's nave ?
Yon dark sepulchral yew-trees stand
O'er many a level grave.
In the belfry's crevices, the dove
Her young brood nurseth well,
Whilst thou, lone flower, dost shed above
A sweet decaying smell.
In the season of the tulip-cup,
When blossoms clothe the trees-,
How sweet to throw the lattice up,
And scent thee on the breeze !
The butterfly is then abroad,
The bee is on the wing,
And on the hawthorn by the road
The linnets sit and sing.
Sweet Wallflower, sweet Wallflower !
Thou conjurest up to me
Full many a soft and sunny hour
Of boyhood's thoughtless glee ;
When joy from out the daisies grew
In woodland pastures green,
And summer skies were far more blue
Than since they e'er have been.
Now Autumn's pensive voice is heard
Amid the yellow bowers :
The robin is the regal bird,
And thou the queen of flowers!
G2 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
He sings on the laburnum trees,
Amid the twilight dim,
And Araby ne'er gave the breeze
Such scents as thou to him.
Rich is the pink, the lily gay,
The rose is summer's guest :
Bland are thy charms when these decay-
Of flowers first, last, and best !
There may be gaudier in the bower,
And statelier on the tree-
But Wallflower, loved Wallflower,
Thou art the flower for me !
NARCISSUS AND DAFFODIL.
The ancients attributed the origin of this flower
to the metamorphosis of a beautiful youth named
Narcissus, who, having slighted the love of the
nymph Echo, became enamoured of his own image,
which he beheld in a fountain, and pined to death
Here young Narcissus o'er the fountain stood,
And viewed his image in the crystal flood ;
The crystal flood reflects his lovely charms,
And the pleased image strives to meet his arms.
No nymph in his inexperienced breast subdued,
Echo in vain the flying boy pursued.
Himself alone the foolish youth admires,
And with fond look the smiling shade desires.
O'er the smooth lake with fruitless tears he grieves ;
His spreading fingers shoot in verdant leaves :
Through his pale veins green sap now gently flows,
And in a short-lived flower his beauty blows.
Let vain Narcissus warn each female breast
That beauty's but a transient good at best;
Like flowers, it withers with th' advancing year,
And age, like winter, robs the blooming fair.
64 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
There are several species of the Narcissus.
That called the Poetic is the largest of the white
kinds, and may he distinguished from all others by
the crimson border of the very shallow and almost
flat cup of the nectary. The double variety is the
most frequent in gardens. The narrow-leafed crim-
son-edged Narcissus is the only one that resembles
the Poetic, but it is not much more than half as
large, with narrower leaves, a flatter form, and the
edge of the nectary more prominent. It flowers
earlier than the other.
The yellow Narcissus is better known by the
name of Daffodil. By early writers this flower was
considered as a species of lily. It has even been
conjectured that the name is a corruption of Dis's
Lily, as it is supposed to be the flower dropped from
the chariot of Dis or Pluto, in his flight with Pro-
Shakspeare, in his Winter's Tale, alludes to his
story, as well as to the early season in which the
Daffodil flowers :
For the flowers now that, frighted, thou lett'st fall
From Dis's wagon : Daffodils
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty.
Drayton in his Pastorals makes the Daffodil the
same flower with the Lily :
See that there be store of lilies,
(Called by shepherds Daffodillies.)
The Narcissus major, the largest of this family
of flowers, a native of Spain, is common in our
gardens, and rarely seen singly. Its magnificent
gold-coloured flowers are supported by a stalk nearly
two feet high.
A modern poet has taken the Narcissus for an
emblem of the pains of unrequitted love. Thus, too,
the ancients, on account of its narcotic properties,
regarded it as the flower of deceit, which, as Homer
assures us, delights heaven and earth by its odour and
external beauty, but, at the same time, produces
stupor and even death. It was therefore consecrated
to the Eumenides, Ceres, and Proserpine, on
which account Sophocles calls it the garland of
the great goddesses ; and Pluto, by the advice of
Venus, employed it to entice Proserpine to the
In the East, the Daffodil is a particular favourite.
The Persians call it, by way of eminence, Zerrin,
66 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
which signifies golden ; and by the Turks it is
denominated Zerrin Kadeck, golden bowl.
One of our older poets moralizes upon this flower
in the following beautiful lines : —
Fair Daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon ;
As yet the early rising sun
Has not attained his noon :
Until the hastening day
But to the even-song,
And, having pray'd together, we
Will go with you along.
We have short time to stay as ye,
We have as fleet a spring,
As quick a growth to meet decay
As you or anything :
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer's rain,
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again.
The Hawthorn, or white Thorn, was among the
Greeks a symbol of the conjugal union ; its blos-
somed boughs were carried about at their wedding
festivities, and the new-married couple were even
lighted to the bridal chamber with torches of its
Among the Turks a branch of the Hawthorn ex-
presses the wish of a lover to receive a kiss from the
object of his affection.
In England, where the hedges, principally formed
of Hawthorn, give such beauty and diversity to our
landscapes, and where the air is perfumed during
the season of flowering by the aromatic fragrance of
its blossom, this shrub held a distinguished place
among the May-day sports of our ancestors. From
its flowering in that month, it received the name of
May, by which it is still more frequently called than
by its proper appellation.
Stow tells us that, on May-day, in the morning,
68 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
" every man, except impediment, would walk into
the sweet meadows, and green woods, there to re-
joice their spirits with the beauty and savour of
sweet flowers, and with the harmony of birds praising
God in their kind." People of all ranks joined in
this recreation. King Henry VIIT. rode a-maying
from Greenwich to Shooter's Hill, with his queen
Katherine, accompanied by many lords and ladies.
In the country, the juvenile part of both sexes
were accustomed to rise soon after mid-night, and
walk to some neighbouring wood accompanied
with music and the blowing of horns ; there they
would break branches from the trees and adorn
them with nosegays and crowns of flowers. This
done, they returned homeward about sunrise with
their booty, and decorated their doors and windows
with the flowery spoil. The after-part of the day
was chiefly spent in dancing round a tall pole,
called a May-pole : which, being placed in a con-
venient part of the village, stood there, conse-
crated as it were to the goddess of flowers, with-
out suffering the least violation during the whole
Herrick, in his beautiful poem of " Corinna's
going a-maying," has also given us some idea
of the manner in which this day was kept in his
Come, my Corinna, come ; and, coming, mark
How each field turns a street, each street a park,
Made green and trimmed with trees ; see how
Devotion gives each house a bough,
Or branch ; each porch, each door, ere this,
An ark, a tabernacle is,
Made up of white-thorne, neatly interwove,
As if here were'those cooler shades of love,
Can such delights be in the street
And open fields, and we not see't?
Come, we'll abroad, and let's obey
The proclamations made for May,
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;
But, my Corinna, come ; let's go a-Maying.
There's not a budding boy or girl, this day.
But is got up and gone to bring in May:
A deal of youth, ere this, is come
Back, and with white-thornc laden home ;
Some have despatched their cakes and cream
Before that we have left to dream;
And some have wept and wooed and plighted troth,
And chose their priest ere we can cast off sloth,
Many a green gown has been given,
Many a kiss, hoth odd and even;
Many a glance too has been sent
From out the eye, love's firmament;
Many a jest told of the Key's betraying
This night and locks picked ; yet we're not a-Maying.
70 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Come, let us go while we are in our prime,
And take the harmless folly of the time.
Shakspeare notices with what eagerness the plea-
sures of May-day morning were pursued in his
time : —
'Tis as much impossible,
Unless we swept them from the door with cannons,
To scatter 'em as 'tis to make 'em sleep
On May -day morning.
The May-day diversions and May-poles were
not confined to the country. In London there were
anciently several May-poles, the last of which, near
Somerset House, in the Strand, was not taken down
till the year 1717.
In the scarlet berries of the Hawthorn, which are
called haws, Providence has furnished an abundant
supply of food for the small birds during winter :
and it is a current notion that " store of haws portend
cold winters." So says Lord Bacon, and no doubt
experience might often be found to confirm the
A beautiful variety of this tree, with double red
blossom of extraordinary fragrance, is cultivated in
DECLARATION OF LOVE.
Its the East the Tulip is employed as the emblem
by which a lover makes a declaration of love,
presenting the idea that, like that flower, he has
a face all on fire and a heart reduced to a coal —
Whose leaves, with their ruby glow,
Hide the heart that lies burnins and black below.
On account of the elegance of its form, the beauty
of its colours, but its wast of fragrance and other
useful qualities, this flower has been considered
as an appropriate symbol of a female who possesses
no other recommendation than personal beauty.
It is supposed to have been brought from Persia
to the Levant, and it was introduded into western
Europe about the middle of the sixteenth century,
by Busbeck, ambassador from the Emperor of Ger-
many to the Porte ; who, to his astonishment, found
Tulips on the road between Adrianople and Con-
72 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
stantinople, blooming, in the middle of winter, in-
termingled with the hyacinth and the narcissus,
and could not sufficiently admire their beauty.
The name given to it by Europeans is supposed to
originate, in a corruption of the Persian word dul-
bend, the muslin head-covering adopted by the
Mahometan nations, which we have transformed
ioto turban. In a Persian of rank this article of
dress is not unlike the swelling form of the Tulip.
Moore, in his " Veiled Prophet," alludes to this
resemblance : —
What triumph crowds the rich Divan to day,
With turban'd heads of every hue and race,
Bowing before that veil'd and awful face,
Like tulip-beds of different shape and dyes,
Bending beneath the invisible west wind's sighs!
On their first introduction into Europe, Tulips
became especial favourites of the cultivators of
flowers. From Vienna they soon spread in Italy,
and were sent in 1600 to England. Eleven years
later they were first seen in France, in the garden
of the learned Pieresc, at Aix, in Provence. In
Holland, about the middle of the seventh century, a
real mania for possessing rare sorts seized all classes
of persons. It would be almost impossible to credit
the extraordinary accounts of the high prices given
in that country for Tulips, did we not know. that
it was a rage for gambling speculations, rather
than a fondness for flowers, which occasioned these
excesses. For a single Tulip, to which the Dutch
florists had given the fine name of Semper Augustus
were given four thousand six hundred florins (about
£400), a beautiful new carriage, a pair of horses,
and harness : another of the same kind sold for
thirteen thousand florins ; and engagements to the
amount of £5000 were made during the height of
this mania for a single root of a particular sort. A
person who possessed a Tulip of a very fine variety,
hearing that there was another of the same kind at
Haerlem, repaired to that city, and, having purchased
it at an enormous price, placed it on a stone and
crushed it to a mummy with his foot, exclaiming
with exultation, " Now my tulip is unique !" We
are also told that another, who possessed a yearly
income of sixty thousand florins, reduced himself to
beggary in the short space of four months, by pur-
chasing these flowers. From this spirit of floral
gambling the city of liaerlam is said to have derived
74 LANGUAGE OE FLOWERS.
not less than ten millions sterling in the space of
three years !
It is related that, during the prevalence of this
mania, a sailor, having brought some goods to a
merchant who cultivated Tulips on speculation, had
a herring given to him for his breakfast, with which
he walked away. As he passed through the garden,
he saw some roots lying there, and, mistaking them
for onions, he picked them up and ate them with his
herring. At this moment the merchant, coming
forward and discovering what had happened, ex-
claimed in despair, " Inconsiderate man, thou hast
ruined me with thy breakfast ! I could have regaled
a king with it."
From the extraordinary favour thus shown to
the Tulip, the species were soon multiplied to such
a degree, that in 1740 the Baden-Durlach Garden at
Carslrube contained not fewer than two thousand
one hundred and fifty-nine sorts ; and the garden of
Count Pappenheim boasted at one time of five
The estimation in which the Turks still hold
Tulips is little inferior to that which they formerly
enjoyed in Holland. They are never tired of ad-
miring its elegant stem, the beautiful vase which
crowns it, with the streaks of gold, silver, purple,
red, and the innumerable tints which revel, unite,
and part again, on the surface of those rich petals.
And sure more lovely to behold
Might nothing meet the wistful eye,
Than crimson fading into gold
In streaks of fairest symmetry.
The bulb or root of the Tulip resembles in every
respect the bud of other plants, except in being
produced under ground, and includes the leaves
and flowers in miniature, which are to be expanded
in the ensuing spring. By the careful dissection of
a Tulip-root, and cautiously cutting through its
concentric coats, lengthwise from top to bottom, and
taking them off successively, the whole flower of the
next summer with all its parts may be discovered by
the naked eye. A popular poet has alluded to this
circumstance in these lines, written " On planting a
Here lies a bulb the child of earth,
Buried alive beneath the clod,
Ere long to spring, by second birth,
A new and nobler work of God.
76 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
'Tis said that microscopic power
Might through his swaddling folds descry
The infant image of the flower,
Too exquisite to meet the eye.
This vernal suns and rain will swell,
Till from its dark abode it peep,
Like Venus rising from her shell,
Amnlst the spring-tide of the deep.
Two shapely leaves will first unfold ;
Then, on a smooth, elastic stem,
The verdant bud shall turn to gold,
And open in a diadem.
Not one of Flora's brilliant race
A form more perfect can display;
Art could not feign more simple grace,
Nor Nature lake a line away.
Vet, rich as morn, of many a hue,
When flushing clouds through darkness strike,
The Tulip's petals shine in dew
All beautiful but none alike.
It is more than two centuries since the Horse-
chestnut has been an inhabitant of our climate ; and
nevertheless it is not yet observed to mingle its
superb head with the crowd of trees indigenous to
our forests. Its delight is to embellish parks, to
adorn superb mansions, and to throw its broad shadow
over the palaces of kings.
One showery day in the commencement of spring
suffices to invest this beautiful tree with all the
richness of its verdure. When it grows by itself,
nothing can be compared with the mingled magnifi-
cence and elegance of its pyramidal form, the beauty
of its foliage, and the richness of its flowers, which
give it the appearance of an immense chandelier
covered with innumerable girandoles. Ever attached
to pomp and profusion, it covers with flowers the
green turf which it protects with its shadow, and
yields to pleasure its most delicious seclusion. But
78 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
to the poor it only yields a scanty fuel and a bitter
Naturalists and physicians especially have gra-
tuitously conferred on this native of India a thousand
good qualities which it does not possess. This
beautiful tree, like the rich on whom it lavishes
its shade,' obtains 'flatterers ; and thus, like them,
does some good in spite of itself; while it astonishes
the vulgar by a display of useless profusion.
By some it has been regarded as an emblem of
modesty and chastity.
FiriST KXOTIONS OF LOVE.
The Lilac has been consecrated to the first emo-
tions of love ; because nothing possesses a greater
charm than the delight afforded by its appearance
on the return of spring. Indeed the freshness of
its verdure, the flexibility of its branches, the pro-
fusion of its flowers, their short and transitory
beauty, their soft and variegated hues — all recal
those celestial emotions, which embellish beauty and
lend to youth its " grace divine."
Never was Albano able to mingle on that pallet,
which he derived from the hand of love itself, colours
sufficiently fresh and flowing to represent the velvet
softness and delicacy of the tints which embellish
the brow of early youth. Van Spaendone himself
threw down his pencil on viewing a group of Lilacs.
80 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Nature seems to have delighted in making a finished
production of each of its delicate clusters, massive
in itself, and yet astonishing by its variety and
beauty. The gradation of its tints, from the first
purplish blood to the blanching flower, is the smallest
fascination of its charming blossoms, round which
the rainbow seems to revel and to dissolve into a
hundred shades and colours, which, all comming-
ling in the general tone and hue, produce a happy
harmony that might well baffle the painter and con-
found the observer.
The lilac, various in array, now white,
Now sanguine, and her beauteous head now set
With purple spikes pyramidal, as if,
Which hues she most approved, she chofe thein all.
What immense pains does Nature appear to have
taken to form this fragrant shurb, which merely
seems to exist in order to gratify the senses ! what
a union of perfume, grace, and delicacy ! what
variety in details ! what harmony in the assemblage !
Doubtless it was destined in the decrees of Provi-
dence to become the future bond of union between
Europe and Asia. The Lilac, which the traveller
Busbeck brought, in the sixteenth century, to Europe
from Persia, now grows on the mountains of Swit-
zerland and in the forests of Germany.
82 « LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
A celebrated French moralist has observed that if
women were naturally what they become by artificial
means, if they were to lose in a moment all the
freshness of their complexion, and their faces were
to be as flaring and as leaden as they make them
with rouge and fard, they would go distracted.
Incontestable as this truth appears, it is equally
true that from north to south and from east to west,
among savage nations and civilized nations, a fond-
ness for using artificial means of improving the com-
plexion universally prevails. The wandering Arab,
the sedentary Turk, the Persian beauty, the small-
footed Chinese, the phlegmatic Russian, the indolent
Creole, and the light and vivacious French woman,
all desire to please, and all resort to some kind of
This taste prevails alike in the harem and in the
desert. Duperron relates that a young savage, wish-
ing to attract his notice, took by stealth a bit of
charcoal, which she reduced to powder in a corner,
rubbed her cheeks with it, and then came back with
a look of triumph, as if this application had rendered
her beauty irresistible.
Castellan, in his Letters on Greece, thus describes
a Greek princess, whose portrait he painted at Con-
stantinople. " She was not," he says, " the ideal
beauty I had pictured to myself. Her dark, pro-
minent eyes were as bright as diamonds, but her
blackened eyelashes spoiled their expression. Her
eyebrows, joined by a line of paint, gave a kind of
harshness to her look. Her small mouth and deep-
coloured lips might be embellished with smiles, but
I never had the pleasure to see them. Iler cheeks
were covered with a very dark rouge, and her face
was disfigured by crescent-shaped patches. Add to
this the lifelessness of her demeanour and the freezing
gravity of her physiognomy, and you would suppose
that I had been depicting an Italian Madonna."
The Bugloss has been made the emblem of false-
hood, because its root is employed in the composi-
tion of various kinds of rouge ; and that of which it
84 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
constitutes the basis is perhaps the oldest and the
least dangerous of all. Nay, it even possesses some
advantages : it lasts several days without rubbing
off"; water refreshes it like the natural colours ; and
it is not hurtful to the skin, which it is used to em-
bellish. Still, nothing can imitate the tint of that
native modesty which flushes the cheek of innocence,
and which art destroys beyond repair. Would you
wish to please for a long time, for ever, banish false-
hood from your hearts, your lips, and your aspect,
and be assured that truth alone is deserving of love.
The good taste displayed by the British ladies of
the present day in discarding the barbarous practice
of disfiguring the face by a composition mask, or an
unnatural stain, must be acknowledged by every one
who can recollect the fashions of the last thirty
LILY OF THE VALLEY. 85
LILY OF THE VALLEY.
RETURN OF HAPPINESS.
The Lily of the Valley delights in shady glens
and the banks of murmuring brooks, where its exqui-
sitely beautiful flower is modestly concealed amidst
the broad, bright green leaves which surround its
delicate and graceful bells. In floral language it is
made to represent a return of happiness, because it
announces by its elegance and its odour the happy
season of the year.
That shy plant, the Lily of the Vale,
That loves the ground, and from the sun withholds
Her pensive beauty, from the breeze her sweets.
The Lily, whose sweet beauties seem
As if they must be sought.
And, sweetest to the view,
The Lily of the Vale, whose virgin flower
Trembles at every breeze, beneath its leafy bower.
86 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
And ye, whose lowlier pride
In sweet seclusion seems to shrink from view,
You of the valley named, no longer hide
Your blossoms, meet to twine the brow of purest bride.
Fair flower, that, lapt in lowly glade,
Dost hide beneath the greenwood shade,
Than whom the vernal gale
None fairer wakes on branch or spray,
Our England's Lily of the May,
Our Lily of the Vale.
Art thou that " Lily of the field,"
Which, when the Saviour sought to shield
The heart from blank despair,
He showed to our mistrustful kind,
An emblem of the thoughtful mind,
Of God's paternal care ?
Not thus, I trow ; for brighter shine
To the warm skies of Palestine
Those children of the East.
But not the less, sweet spring-tide's flower,
Dost thou display thy Maker's power,
His skill and handiwork :
Our western valleys' humbler child,
Where, in green nook of woodland wild,
Thy modest blossoms lurk.
What though nor care nor art be thine
The loom to ply, the thread to twine,
Yet born to bloom and fade.
LILY OF THE VALLEY. 87
Thee, too, a lovelier robe arrays,
Than, even in Israel's brightest days,
Her wealthiest king array'd :
Of thy twin leaves the embowered screen,
Which wraps thee in thy shroud of green,
Thy Erlen-breathing smell ;
Thy arched and purple- vested stem,
Whence pendent many a pearly gem
Displays a milk-white bell —
Who forms thee thus with unseen hand 1
Who at creation gave command,
And willed thee thus to be ;
And keeps thee still in being, through
Age after age revolving?— Who
But the great God is he ?
88 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
" War," said the young mother of a family one
day to the venerable village pastor, " why did you
not plant a strong quickset hedge round your gar-
den, instead of this weak hedge of flowering privet V
The benevolent minister replied : — " When you for-
bid your child a hurtful pleasure, the prohibition is
sweetened by an affectionate smile, by a kind look ;
and, if he is refractory, a mother's hand immediately
offers some plaything to pacify him. In like man-
ner, the pastor's hedge, while it keeps off intruders,
should not hurt any one, but offer flowers even to
those whom it repels.
TENDER HE OLLECTIOXS.
The winds have now purified the atmosphere,
diffused the seeds of vegetation over the earth, and
dispersed the gloomy vapours of winter. The air is
fresh and pure ; the sky seems to expand above our
head ; the lawns grow vividly green on all sides,
and the trees push forth their young and verdant
buds. Nature is about to put on her dress of
flowers ; but she first prepares an harmonious ground
for her painting ; and, covering it with one general
tint of green, which she varies infinitely, rejoices
the eye and cheers the heart with promise.
We have already detected in shady dells the
violet, the daisy, the primrose, and the golden flower
of the dandelion. Let us now approach the skirts
of the wood ; there the Anemone and the Periwin-
kle stretch their long parterre of verdure and
flowers ; these two friendly plants are mutual foils
to each other's charms. The Anemone has velvet
LANGUAGE OF FLOWER?!.
leaves, deeply dentated, and of a delicate green ;
whereas those of the Periwinkle are always green,
firm, and shining ; its flower is blue, while that of
the Anemone is of a pure white, tinged with rose
colour at the edge ; and, enduring but a day, it
recals to us the happy and fleeting hours of child-
In France, the Periwinkle has been adopted as the
emblem of the pleasures of memory and sincere
friendship, probably in allusion to Rousseau's recol-
lection of his friend, Madame de Warens, occa-
sioned, after a lapse of thirty years, by the sight of
this flower, which they had admired together.
This plant is deeply rooted in the soil which it
adorns. It interweaves the earth on all sides with
its flexible shoots, and covers it with flowers, which
seem to reflect and imitate the azure of the sky :
thus our first affections, so warm, pure, and artless,
appear to have a celestial origin. They mark our
days with a moment's happiness, and to them we
owe our sweetest recollections.
The meadows are covered with flowers, the
plains with waving corn, and the hills with dark-
some woods. Happy swains ! — ye can dance in
the meadows ; ye can crown your brows with the
golden wreaths of Ceres ; ye can rest yourselves in
the shade of the woods — for to thee happy life is
one scene of joy.
As for me, with Melancholy for my guide, I will
stroll to those sequestered spots where the humble
Heath, which delights in solitude, maintains its
ground against advancing cultivation. There, seat-
ed beneath the drooping Broom, I will indulge my
gloomy thoughts ; whilst creatures, unfortunate,
harassed, and afflicted, like myself, will collect
around mc from all sides. The partridge, chased
92 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS,
by our dogs, after losing her whole family ; the doe,
pursued by the hounds ; the skulking hare, the
timid rabbit, at first alarmed at sight of me, will by
degrees become familiar with my griefs : perhaps
they will even come to my feet to seek protection
from the persecution of men. Ye, too, will hover
round me, industrious bees ; and if I pluck but a
single sprig from the Heath of your solitary haunts,
ye will come to my very hands for the honey, which
ye gather not for yourselves, but for others. And
you, noisy quails, will measure both for yourselves
and for me the hours which fly away, without
leaving behind me in these wilds either traces or
regrets. Gentle doves, tender nightingales, your
sighs and murmurs were made for fragrant bowers ;
but I can no longer muse in their shade. The
voice of the monarch of this solitude scares you
away ; for me it has charms : with the first beams
of the moon its melancholy tones will reach the ear.
The owl will then issue from the hollow trunk of
some time-worn oak. Perched on the boughs
which hide his mossy retreat, his screech affrights
the timid maiden as she counts the hours of her
lover's absence; it thrills the mother watching
beside the couch on which fever has prostrated her
only child ; but it soothes the unhappy man who
has consigned to the grave all that he loved on
earth. Often did that doleful sound awaken thee,
unfortunate Young! speaking to thee of death and
eternity : and if it has not inspired me, as it did
thee, with sublime strains, it has at least given me,
like thee, a distaste for the world and a love of soli-
94 LANGUAGE OF ILOVEUS.
The beautiful fable of Philemon and Baucis
caused this tree to be adopted as the emblem of con-
jugal love. This couple lived together in the hap-
piest harmony to extreme old age ; and, content
with their humble hut and the little which their
labour procured them, they knew no higher wishes
or wants. Jupiter and Mercury one day descended
in human form from Olympus to visit the plains of
Phrygia. Needing refreshment, they called at seve-
ral houses, but were refused admittance ; but Phi-
lemon aud Baucis, the poorest couple in that part
of the country , r received them in the most hospitable
manner in their mean habitation. Baucis imme-
diately heated water to wash the travellers' feet ;
and then set before them a rural repast of fruit,
milk, and honey. She. also produced wine, which
she had cultivated and made with her own hands ;
and, as the quantity sustained no diminution, the
aged pair discovered from the circumstance the
superior nature of their guests, and hastened to offer
up in sacrifice to them a goose, which they had
reared in their hut. The goose, however, escaped
from their grasp, and sought refuge at the feet of
the gods, who took the bird under their protection.
On rising from the table, they ordered their kind
hosts to follow them to the top of a neighbouring
hill. There they beheld a flood sweeping away the
houses of their hard-hearted neighbours, whilst their
cottage stood uninjured amidst the raging waters
and was transformed into a magnificent temple. Ju-
piter then promised to grant them whatever they
wished ; but they desired nothing more than to be
the servants of his temple. The god graciously
complied with their request, and they served in his
temple for many years. At length, as they were
one day conversing before the door of the edifice
on the wonder of which the} r had been eye-witnesses,
Philemon observed that Baucis was zradu illy ch. iu>-
96 LANGUAGE Ol-' FLOWERS.
ing into a Linden-tree, and Baucis that her husband
was turning into an Oak. They calmly and cheer-
fully continued their conversation so long as they
could see, and then took an affectionate farewell of
each other. As trees, they stood for ages before the
temple, and were objects of veneration to all the
An event of modern times has contributed to
render the Linden not less dear to all loving hearts
than the preceding legend of fabulous antiquity.
About the year 1790, there dwelt at Konigsberg, in
Prussia, a pair who, united in affection, were shortly
to be joined in the bonds of wedlock. The wedding-
day was already fixed, when the bride, in the first
bloom of youthful beauty, suddenly fell sick, and in a
few hours expired. Such was the grief of the lover
at the unexpected loss, that he, too, soon expired ;
and on the very day on which they were to have
been married, the remains of both were consigned to
one and the same grave. Here they had reposed
for some years, when over their heads sprang up
from one root two Linden trees, which firmly en-
twining each other, shot up into a crown, that, with
its fragrant blossoms, yearly decks the bridal bed
ill which two faithful hearts are inseparably
Among the trees of central Europe, the Linden is
known to attain the greatest age next to the Oak.
Near Neustadt, on the Kocher, in Wirtemberg,
there is a stately Linden, which for many centuries
has attracted the notice of passengers, and invited
them to rest in its shade, Its trunk is thirty-six
feet in circumference. The branches issue from it
at the height of eight to ten feet, in a horizontal
direction, and are supported by pillars, partly of
stone, partly of wood, otherwise they would break
down by their own weight. In 1811, there were
one hundred and twenty such pillars. This Linden
has now withstood time and tempests for a least six
In the cemetery of the hospital of Annaberg
in Saxony, there is a very ancient Linden tree,
concerning which tradition relates that it was
planted by an inhabitant of Annaberg with its
top in the ground, and that its roots became
branches, which now overshadow a considerable
part of the cemetery. The planter of this tree,
who was buried not far from it, left a sum of money,
98 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
the interest of which is paid, agreeably to his will,
to the chaplain of the hospital, fur delivering a sermon
annually, in the afternoon of Trinity Sunday, beneath
this remarkable tree.
Flies of all shapes, beetles, of all hues, light
butterflies, and vigilant bees, for ever surround
the flowery tufts of Thyme. It may be that to
these cheerful inhabitants of the air, whose life
is a long spring, these little tufts appear like an
immense tree, old as the earth, and covered with
eternal verdure, begemmed with myriads of flowery
vases, filled with honey for their express en-
Among the Greeks, Thyme denoted the graceful
elegance of the Attic style; because it covered
Mount Hymettus and gave the aromatic flavour, of
which the ancients were so fond, to the honey
made there. " To smell of Thyme" was, there-
fore, a commendation bestowed on those writers
who had made themselves masters of the Attic
Activity is a warlike virtue, always associated
100 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
with true courage. Tt was on this account that
the ladies of chivalrous times embroidered on the
scarfs which they presented to their knights the
figure of a bee hovering about a sprig of Thyme ;
in order to recommend the union of the amiable
with the active.
The Wild Thyme has often been noticed by the
No more, my goats, shall I behold you climb
The steepy cliffs, or crop the flow'ry Thyme.
Guide rny way
Through fair Lyceum's walk, the greeu retreats
Of Academus, and the Thymy vale.
Do you observe along the extended banks of that
lake, whose silvery mirror reflected an unclouded
sky, those clusters of flowers as white as snow 1
A roseate hue colours the under side of these beau-
teous flowers, while a tuft of fibres of extraordinary
delicacy, and dazzling whiteness rises out of their
alabaster cups, giving thern the appearance of fringed
hyacinths. Expression fails to do justice to the
elegance of this plant. To remember it for ever,
you need but to have once seen it gently waving on
the brink of the water, to which it seems to impart
increased coolness and transparency. The Buck-
bean never opens in stormy weather. Tranquillity
is requisite to the development of its blossoms ; but
the calm that it enjoys itself it seems to diffuse on
all the objects around it.
The original name of the Buck-bean was Bog-
bane, or Bog-plant, from its place of growth.
102 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The Acanthus delights in hot climates by the
side of great rivers. It thrives, nevertheless, in
temperate climates. The tasteful ancients adorned
their furniture, their vases and their costly dresses,
with its elegant leaves. Virgil says that the robe of
Helen was embroidered with a wreath of Acanthus.
This charming model of the arts has thus be-
come their emblem, as it might also be of the genius
which causes its possessor to excel in them. When
any obstacle obstructs the growth of the Acanthus,
it puts forth fresh force and grows with additional
vigour. Thus genius is strengthened and exalted
by the very obstacles, which it cannot overcome.
It is related of Callimachus the architect that, as
he was passing near the tomb of a young female,
who died a few days before her marriage, touched
with pity, he approached to throw flowers on it.
An offering had preceded his : the nurse of the
bride had collected the flowers and veil which were
to have adorned her on her wedding-day, placed
them in a little basket near the tomb] on^ an Acan-
thus plant, and covered it with a large tile. The
following spring the leaves of the Acanthus sur-
rounded the basket, but, impeded by the tile, they
turned back and bent round gracefully towards their
extremities. Callimachus, astonished at this rural
decoration, which looked like a work of the weeping
Graces, made it the capital of the Corinthian order
— a charming ornament that we still imitate and
104 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The oak was from the remotest ages consecrated
to Jupiter, the olive to Minerva, and the Myrtle to
Venus, Its evergreen foliage and supple odorife-
rous branches loaded with flowers, that appear
destined to adorn the forehead of Love, have ren-
dered this tree worthy of being dedicated to Venus,
the goddess of beauty. At Rome the temple of the
goddess was surrounded by a grove of Myrtles ; and
in Greece she was adored under the name of Myr-
tilla. When Venus rose from the bosom of the
waves, the Hours presented to her a scarf of a thou-
sand colours, and a wreath of Myrtle. After her
victory over Pallas and Juno, she was crowned
with Myrtle by the Loves. When surprised, one
day, on issuing from the bath, by a troop of satyrs,
she sought refuge behind a Myrtle bush ; and it was
with the branches of the same plant that she re-
venged herself on the audacious Psyche, who dared to
compare her transitory charms to immortal beauty.
At Rome the Myrtle-garland of the Loves was
sometimes mingled, in honour of Mars and Venus,
with the laurel on the triumphant conqueror's
brow. And now that triumphs have ceased at the
Capitol, the Roman ladies have retained a strong
predilection for this plant. They prefer its odour to
that of the most fragrant essences, and they impreg-
nate their baths with a water distilled from its
leaves, persuaded that the plant of Venus must be
favourable to beauty. If the ancients were posses-
sed by a similar persuasion, if they truly deemed it
the symbol of love, it was because they had observ-
ed that the Myrtle, wherever it grows, excludes al*
other plants. Just so love, wherever it has estab-
lished its sway, excludes from the heart all other
106 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Lucerx will occupy the same spot for a long
time ; but, when once it leaves it, it is for ever.
This is, no doubt, the reason why it has been
adopted as the emblem of life.
Nothing is more beautiful than a field of Lucern
in flower, spreading itself out to the eye, like an
immense green carpet tipped with violet. When
cultivated, this plant yields abundant crops, without
requiring any care. Cut it down and it springs up
again. The cow rejoices at the sight of it, it is a
favourite food of the sheep, the horse, and the goat.
A native of our climate, this valuable gift comes to
us direct from heaven. Its possession costs us no
trouble ; we enjoy it without thought, and with-
out gratitude. Very often we prefer to it a flower,
whose only merit is its transient beauty. In like
manner we too often relinquish a certain benefit, to
run after vain pleasures, which fly away and escape
GENEROUS AND DEVOTED AFFECTION - .
Weakness is fond of strength, and often delights
in lending to the latter its own graces. Thus have
I seen a young Honeysuckle lovingly entwine the
gnarled trunk of an aged oak with its supple and
delicate arms. It would seem as if this slender
shrub, whilst climbing upward was striving to sur-
pass in height the monarch of the forest: soon,
however, as though finding its effort useless, it
droops gracefully down and encircles the brow of
its friend with elegant festoons of fragrant flowers.
Thus Love sometimes unites the timid maiden to
the ruthless soldier. Unhappy Desdemonia ! it
was the admiration awakened by courage and
valour, but was also the feeling of thine own weak-
ness, that attached thy heart to the terrible Othello :
but jealousy caused thy destruction by the very
hand that should have protected thee !
This excellent climbing shrub, which we also
108 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
call the woodbine, trained against our English
cottages, at once delights the eye and gratifies the
smell by the exquisite fragrance of its blossom ;
whilst it confers on those humble dwellings a cha-
racter of cheerfulness unknown in other countries.
A Honeysuckle, on the sunny side,
Hung around the lattices its fragrant trumpets.
Copious of flowers, the woodbine pale and wan
But well compensating her sickly looks
With never cloying odours, early and late.
It begins to flower in May, and continues to put
forth its blossoms till the end of summer.
In the year 1234, St. Louis of France, after the
coronation of his queen, chose the flower of this
plant as the insignia of a new order of knighthood.
The members of this order wore a chain composed
of flowers of the Broom entwined with white
enamelled lilies, from which was suspended a gold
cross with the inscription : Ex alt at hiimiles —
" He exalteth the humble." With this order he
associated a body-guard consisting of one hundred
nobles, on the back and front of whose coat was
likewise embroidered a Broom flower, over which a
hand issuing from the clouds held a crown, with
the inscription : Dens exaltat Juimiles — " God
exalleth the humble."
This plant, called in Latin Genista, and in
French Genet, gave the name of Plantagenct to
the sovereigns of England for several centuries.
Lemon, in his " English Etymology," bays : "Four-
110 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
teen princes of the family of Plantagenet have sate
on the throne of England for upwards of three hun-
dred years, and yet very few of our countrymen
have known either the reason of that appellation or
the etymology of it : but history tells us that Geof-
fry, Count of Anjou, acquired the surname of Plan-
tagenet from the incident of his wearing a sprig of
Broom on his helmet on a day of battle. This
Geoflry was second husband to Matilda, or Maud,
Empress of Germany, and daughter of Henry I. of
England, and from this Plantagenet family were
descended all our Edwards and Henries."
Skinner assigns a different origin to this illustri-
ous name. He tells us that " the house of Anjou
derived the name of Plantagenet from a prince
thereof, who, having killed his brother to enjoy his
principality, afterwards repented, and made a voy-
age to the Holy Land to expiate his crime,
scourging himself every night with a rod made of
the plant Genet, Genista, Broom." And we are
told elsewhere that he was nicknamed Plantagenet
from the use which he had made of the Broom.
There are three vaiieties of Broom, with yellow,
white, and purple flowers. The first is the most
Their groves o' sweet myrtle let foreign lands reckon,
Where bright beaming summers exalt the perfume :
Far dearer to me yon lone glen o' green breckan,
Wi' the burn stealing under the lang yellow Broom.
The wilding Broom as sweet, which gracefully,
Flings its long tresses, waving in yellow beauty.
The purple heath and golden broom.
Which scent the passing gale.
The Broom and the furze are perpetually asso-
ciated. Indeed, the latter is sometimes called by
botanists Genista Spinosa — the thorny Broom, and
provincially whin, or gorse. It grows abundantly
on all our wastes ; and it is recorded of Linneus that
when he visited England in 1736, he was so much
delighted with the golden blossom of the furze,
which he then saw for the first time on a common
near London, that he fell on his knees, enraptured
at the sight. He conveyed some of the plants to
Sweden, but complained that he could never pre-
serve it in the garden during the winter.
112 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Come away ! the sunny hours
Woo thee far to founts and bowers I
O'er the very waters now.
In tlieir play,
Flowers are shedding beauty's glow ;
Whore the lily's tender gleam
Quivers on the glowing stream,
Come away !
All the air is fill'd with sound,
Soft, and sultry, and profound ;
Murmurs through the shadowy grass
Lightly stray ;
Faint winds whisper as they pass
Come away !
Where the bee's deep music swells
From the trembling foxglove bells —
Come away '
In the deep heart of the rose,
Now the crimson love-hue glows ;
Now the glow-worm's lamp by night
Sheds a ray
Dreary, starry, greenly bright —
Where the fairy cup-moss lies,
With the wild wood strawberries,
Come away !
114 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Who that ever could sing has not sung the Rose !
The poets have not exaggerated its heauty, or com-
pleted its panegyric. They have called it daughter
of heaven, ornament of the earth, glory of spring :
but what expressions could ever do justice to the
charms of this beautiful flower ! Look at it grace-
fully rising from its elegant foliage, surrounded by
its numerous buds : you would say that this queen
of flowers sports with the air which fans her, that
she decorates herself with the dew-drops which im-
pearl her, that she smilingly meets the sunny rays
which expand her bosom. Nature seems to have
exhausted all her skill in the freshness, the beauty
of form, the fragrance, the delicate colour, and the
gracefulness which she has bestowed upon the Rose.
'/ / 7 / / //
And then, it embellishes the whole earth ; it is the
commonest of flowers. The emblem of all ages, the
interpreter of all our feelings, the Rose mingles with
our festivities, our joys, and our griefs. Modesty
borrows its delicate blush ; it is given as the prize
of virtue ; it is the image of youth, innocence, and
pleasure ; it is consecrated to Venus, the goddess of
beauty, and, like her, possesses a grace more exquisite
than beauty itself.
Anacreon, the poet of love, has celebrated the
Rose in an ode, thus rendered by our English Ana-
While we invoke the wreathed spring,
Resplendent Rose ! to thee we'll sing,
Resplendent Rose ! the flower of flowers,
Whose breath perfumes Olympus' bowers ;
Whose virgin blush, of chasten'd dye,
Enchants so much our mortal eye,
Oft has the poet's magic tongue
The Rose*s fair luxuriance sung ;
And long the Muses, heavenly maids,
Have rear'd it in their tuneful shades.
When, at the early glance of morn,
It sleeps upon the glittering thorn,
'Tis sweet to dare die tangled fence,
To cull the timid fiow'ret thence,
And wipe, with tender hand, away
The tear that on its blushes lay !
116 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
'Tis sweet to hold the infant stems,
Yet dropping with Aurora's gems,
And fresh inhale the spicy sighs
That from the weeping buds arise.
When revel reigns, when mirth is high.
And Bacchus beams in every eye,
Our rosy fillets scent exhale,
And fill with balm the fainting gale !
Oh, there is nought in nature bright,
Where Roses do not shed their light !
Where morning paints the orient skies,
Her fingers burn w ith roseate dyes !
And when, at length, with pale decline,
Its florid beauties fade and pine,
Sweet as in youth its balmy breath
Diffuses odour e'en in death !
O, whence could such a plant have sprung?
Attend — for thus the tale is sung; —
When humid from the silvery stream,
Effusing beauty's warmest beam,
Venus appeared in flushing hues,
Mellowed by Ocean's briny dews ;
When, in the starry courts above.
The pregnant brain of mighty Jove
Disclosed the nymph of azure glance !
The nymph who shakes the martial lance !
Then, then, in strange eventful hour.
The earth produced an infant flower,
Which sprung with blushing tinctures dress'd,
And wanton'd o'er its parent breast.
The gods beheld this brilliant birth,
And hailed the Rose, the boon of earth !
ROSE. 1 17
With nectar drops, a ruby tide,
The sweetly orient buds they dyed,
And bade them bloom, the flowers divine
Of him who sheds the teeming vine ;
And bade them on the spangled thorn
Expand their bosoms to the morn.
According to ancient Fable, the red colour of the
Rose may be traced to Venus, whose delicate foot,
when she was hastening to the relief of her
beloved Adonis, was pierced by a thorn, that drew
Which on the White Rose being shed,
Made it for ever after red.
Its beautiful tint, is traced to another source by
modern poet :
As erst, in Eden's blissful bowers,
Young Eve survey'd her countless flowers,
An opening Rose of purest white
She marked with eye that beam'd delight,
Its leaves she kiss'd, and straight it drew
From beauty's lip the vermeil hue.
118 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The origin of that exquisitely beautiful variety,
the Moss Rose, is thus fancifully accounted for :
The Angel of the Flowers, one day,
Beneath a Rose Tree sleeping lay,
That Spirit to whose charge is given
To bathe young buds in dews from heaven.
Awaking from his high repose,
The Angel whispered to the Rose :
" O fondest object of my care,
Still fairest found where all are fair,
For the sweet shade thou*st given to me,
Ask what thou wilt, 'tis granted thee."
Then said the Rose with deepening glow,
" On me another grace bestow."
The Spirit paused in silent thought —
What grace was there that flower had not J
'Twas but a moment— o'er the Rose
A veil of moss the Angel throws ;
And robed in Nature's simplest weed,
Could there a flower that Rose exceed?
Pfeffel, a German poet, has pleasingly accounted
for the Origin of the Yellow Rose, the emblem of
envy, in the following manner :
Once a White Rose-bi:d reared her head,.
And peevishly to Flora said
" Look at my sister's blushing hue —
Pray, mother, let mc have it too."
" Nay, child," was Flora's mild reply,
11 Be thankful for such gifts as I
Have deem'd befitting to dispense —
Thy dower the hue of innocence."
When did Persuasions voice impart
Content and peace to female heart
Where baleful Jealousy bears sway,
And scares each gentler guest away !
The Rose still grumbled and complained,
Her mother's bounties still disdained.
4i Well, then," said angered Flora — " take" —
She breathed upon her as she spake —
" Henceforth no more in simple vest
Of innocence shalt thou be drest —
Take that which better suits thy mind—
The hue for Jealousy designer! I"
The Yellow Rose has from that hour
Borne evidence of Envy's power.
There is another strongly marked variety of this
flower in the Thornless Rose. The author of that
affecting tale, " The Leper of Aoste," asserts that
the thorns of the Rose are produced by cultivation ;
and this theory naturally suggested the emblem of
ingratitude which has been adopted. . In both
these assumptions, however, there appears to be a
120 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
wide departure from the ideas usually attached to
a Rose without a thorn, which would more naturally
present the image of love without alloy.
In the " Legend of the Rose," we find this
account of the origin of the armour by which this
flower is defended :
Young Love, rambling through the wood,
Found me in my solitude,
Bright with dew and freshly blown,
And trembling to the Zephyr's sighs ;
But as he stooped to gaze upon
The living gem with raptured eyes,
It chanced a bee was busy there,
Searching for its fragrant fare ;
And, Cupid, stooping too, to sip,
The angry insect stung his lip;
And, gushing from the ambrosial cell,
One bright drop on my bosom fell.
Weeping, to his mother he
Told the tale of treachery,
And she her vengeful boy to please,
Strung his bow with captive bees,
But placed upon my slender stem
The poisoned sting she plucked from them :
And none since that eventful morn
Have found the flower without a thorn
By the ancients the Rose was regarded as
emblem of joy. Accordingly, Comus, the god of
feasting, was represented as a handsome young
man, crowned with a garland of Roses, whose
leaves glistened with dew-drops. As it was well
known, even in those early times, that when the
heart is full the mouth will run over, especially
during the intoxication of mirth or of pleasure, the
ancients feigned that sportive Cupid presented a
Rose to Harpocrates, the grave god of silence, and
thus made this flower a symbol of secrecy and
silence. As such, a Rose was fastened up over the
table at entertainments, that the sight of the flower
might remind the guests that the mirthful sallies in
which any of them might indulge were not to be
proclaimed in the market-place. This custom gave
rise to the saying " under the rose," which was
equivalent to an injunction of secrecy.
The Rose became celebrated in English history,
from its having been adopted in the fifteenth cen-
tury as the badge of the rival houses of York and
Lancaster, the white being chosen by the former,
the red by the latter. Shakspeare, in his Henry the
Sixth, represents this feud as having originated in
the Temple Garden. The Earls of Somerset, Suf-
122 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
folk, and Warwick, Richard Plantagenet, nephew
and heir of Edmund Mortimer, with Vernon, and
another lawyer, are the characters introduced. Suf-
Within the Temple Hall we were too loud:
The garden here is more convenient.
Plant ag. Since you are tongue-tied, and so loth to speak,
In dumb significance proclaim yuur thoughts:
Let him that is a true-born gentleman,
And stands upon the honour of his birth,
If he supposes I have pleaded truth,
From off this 1 riar pluck a White Rose with me.
Somers. Let him that is no coward, nor no flatterer,
But dare maintain the party of the truth,
Pluck a Red Rose from off this thorn with me.
This example is followed by their respective
friends, and after a threatening altercation, War-
wick, addressing Plantagenet, says:
In signal uf my love to thee,
Will I upon thy party wear this Rose :
And here I prophecy, this brawl to-day,
Grown to this faction in the Temple Garden,
Shall send, between the Red Rose and the White,
A thousand souls to death and deadly night.
What torrents of blood were shed in the civil
wars, called the Wars of the Roses, which suc-
ceeded, history has duly recorded. The subsequent
blending of the interests of the two houses, and
their union by the marriage of Henry VII. with the
heiress of the York family, are prettily typified in
the colouring of the York and Lancaster Rose.
In the East, the Rose is an object of peculiar
esteem, and the acceptance of this flower when
offered is a token of the highest favour. However
interesting it might be to collect the various oriental
legends and traditions in which the Rose acts a
principal part, I must abstain from the attempt,
otherwise this single article might be swelled to
the size of a decent volume, especially if I should
include the many charming illustrations of the love
of the nightingale for the Rose. In a fragment by the
celebrated Persian poet Attar, entitled Bulbul
Nameh — The Book of the Nightingale — all the
birds appear before Solomon, and charge the night-
ingale with disturbing their rest by the broken and
plaintive strains which he warbles forth in a sort of
frenzy and intoxication. The nightingale is sum-
moned, questioned, and acquitted by the wise king,
because the bird assures him that his vehement
124 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
love for the Rose drives him to distraction, and
causes him to break forth into those languishing and
touching complaints, which are laid to his charge.
Thus the Persians believe that the nightingale in
spring flutters around the Rose-bushes, uttering
incessant complaints, till, overpowered by the
strong scent, he drops stupified on the ground.
Among the ancients it was customary to crown
new-married persons with a chaplet of Red and
White Roses ; and, in the processions of the Cory-
bantes, the goddess Cybele, the protectress of cities,
was pelted with White Roses. The pelting with
Roses is still common in Persia, being practised
during the whole time that these flowers are in
blossom. A company of young men repair to the
places of public entertainment to amuse the guests
with music, singing, and dancing ; and, in their
way through the streets, they pelt the passengers
whom they meet with Roses, and receive a little
gratuity in return.
In the middle ages, the queen of flowers contribu-
ted to a singular popular festival at Treviso, in
Italy. In the middle of the city, the inhabitants
erected a castle, the walls of which were formed of
curtains, carpets, and silk hangings. The most
distinguished unmarried females of the place de-
fended this fortress, which was attacked by the
youth of the other sex. The missiles with which
both parties fought consisted of apples, almonds,
nutmegs, lilies, narcissuses, violets, but chiefly of
Roses, which supplied the place of artillery. In-
stead of musketry, they discharged volleys of Rose-
water and other liquid perfumes, by means of
syringes. This entertainment attracted thousands
of spectators from far and near, and the emperor
Frederick Barbarossa himself accounted it one of
the highest diversions that he had ever enjoyed.
In like manner, St. Medard, bishop of Noyon,
in France, instituted in the sixth century a festival
at Salency, his birth-place, for adjudging one of the
most interesting prizes that piety has ever offered
to virtue. This prize consists of a simple crown
of Roses, bestowed on the girl who is acknowledged
by all her competitors to be the most amiable,
modest, and dutiful. The founder of this festival
enjoyed the high gratification of crowning his own
sister as the first Rose-queen of Salency. The
lapse of ages, which has overturned so many
126 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
thrones and broken so many sceptres, has spared
this simple institution ; and the crown of Rose still
continues to be awarded to the most virtuous of the
maidens of that obscure village.
One of the most eminent French authors
conceived the plan of writing a general history
of nature, after the model of the ancients and
of several moderns. A strawberry plant, which
by chance grew under his window, deterred him
from his rash design. He investigated the Straw-
berry, and in doing so, discovered so many
wonders, that he felt convinced that the study
of a single plant, and of its inhabitants, was suffi-
cient to occupy a whole life. He therefore relin-
quished his design, gave up the ambitious title
which he meditated for his work, and contented
himself with modestly calling it " Studies of
From this book, worthy of Pliny and of Plato,
may be derived a taste for observation and for the
higher class of literature ; and it is there especially
that the student will find a complete history of the
Strawberry. This humble plant delights in the
128 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS,
shelter of our woods, and covers the borders with
that delicious fruit which belongs to any one who
pleases to gather it. It is a charming reserve
which nature has subtracted from the exclusive
right of property, and which she rejoices in render-
ing common property to all her children.
The flowers of the Strawberry form pretty
bouquets ; but where is the barbarous hand that, in
gathering them, would rob the future of its fruits !
It is delightful to find, among the glaciers of the
Alps, the plants and flowers of the Strawberry in all
seasons of the year. When the traveller — scorched
by the sun, and sinking with fatigue on those rocks,
old as the world, amidst forests of fir half over-
whelmed with avalanches — vainly seeks a cabin
to shelter him, or a fountain to refresh him, he
suddenly perceives troops of young girls advancing
from the defiles of the rock, bearing baskets of
Strawberries that perfume the air : they appear at
once on the crag above him, and in the yawning
dells beneath. It would seem as if each rock and
tree were guarded by one of those nymphs whom
Tasso placed at the gate of Armida's enchanted
gardens. But though equally attractive, the young
Swiss girls are less dangerous ; and, while offering
their alluring baskets to the traveller, instead of
magically arresting his steps, they enable him to
recruit his strength and to renew his journey.
The learned Linneus was cured of frequent attacks
of gout by the use of Strawberries. Often have
they restored health to the invalid when all other
medicines have failed. They constitute a favourite
accompaniment of the lordly feast, and the most
exquisite luxury of the rural repast. This charming
fruit, which vies in freshness and perfume, with
the bud of the sweetest of flowers, delights the eye,
the taste, and the smell at the same time. Yet
there are persons so unhappy as to dislike Straw-
berries, and to swoon at the sight of a rose. Is this
astonishing, when there are persons who turn pale
at the sight of superior merit, on hearing of a
noble action, as if the sight or record of virtue were
a reproach to themselves 1 Fortunately, these me-
lancholy exceptions take nothing from the charm of
virtue, frem the beauty of the rose, or from the per-
fection which characterizes the most delicious of
130 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
ST. JOHN'S WORT.
This plant, to which ancient superstition attribut-
ed the virtue of defending persons from phantoms
and spectres, and driving away devils, whence
it was called Fuga Demonum, has been named by
modern bigotry St. John's-wort. For the same
reason it was also called Solterrestres, the Terres-
trial Sun, because the spirits of darkness were
believed to vanish at the approach of that luminary.
Growing close to the earth, its large yellow flower,
whose hundreds of chives form so many rays, headed
by spark-like anthers, it reminds us of small wheel-
fireworks, and forms a happy contrast with the
azure flowers of the periwinkle.
It forms an appropriate emblem of superstition,
but by some is regarded as a symbol of happiness,
on account of the happy confidence with which it
inspires the fond believers in its imaginary virtues.
AN ACCOMMODATING DISPOSITION.
The Red Valerian grows naturally on the rocks
of the Alps, and, from the facility with which it
propagates itself in the garden or on old walls, it is
made the emblem of an accommodating disposition.
If not indigenous in this country, it is conjectured
to have been introduced very early, on account
of the situations where it is found growing, which
are generally the old walls of colleges, or the ruins
of monastic buildings.
From its predilection for such situations, this
plant no doubt derived its old English name of Sete-
wale. Chaucer mentions it by this apellation, so
long ago as the time of Edward III.
Ther springen herbis grele and smale,
The Licoris and the Setewale ;
and Dr. Turner, who compiled his Herbal about
the middle of the sixteenth century, calls it setwall.
132 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The Valerian is too large and scrambling a plant
to hold a place in the parterre of choice flowers ;
besides which, cats are so fond of the smell of its
blossom as to be attracted to it, and by rolling over
the plant to destroy its beauty, as well as that of
the contiguous flowers. They are equally fond of
its root, which has a disagreeable smell : they will
roll on it and gnaw it to pieces with ecstatic delight ;
and it seems to produce in them a kind of pleasing
The root of the Valerian is considered as a
valuable remedy for many of those ailments which
luxury engenders in the human frame ; exerting a
peculiar influence on the nervous system, reviving
the spirits, and strengthening the sight.
The Jasmine seems to have been created ex-
pressly to be the happy emblem of an amiable
disposition. When brought from India, about the
year 1560, by Spanish navigators, the slenderness
of its branches and the delicate brightness of its
starry flowers were universally admired : to preserve
so elegant a plant, it was thought necessary to place
it in the hothouse, which seemed to suit it perfectly
well. The orangery was then tried, and there it
grew surprisingly. It was then risked in the
open air, and now, without needing any sort
of care, it withstands the utmost severity of
In all situations, the amiable Jasmine suffers its
supple branches to be trained in any form that the
gardener chooses to give them : most commonly
forming a living tapestry for our arbours or the
134 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
walls of our houses or gardens, and every where
throwing out a profusion of delicate and charming
flowers, which perfume the air, offering to the light
butterfly cups worthy of him, and to the busy bee
abundance of fragrant hone3 T .
The rustic lover unites the Jasmine with the Rose
to adorn the bosom of his beloved ; and often does
a wreath of this simple combination encircle the
brow of the princess.
And brides, as delicate and fair
As the White Jasmine flowc rs they wear,
Hath Yemen in her blissful clime;
Who lull'd in coul kiosk or bower,
Before their mirrors count the time,
And grow still lovelier every hour.
From the numberless poetical tributes that
have been paid to this plant, we cull the following
My slight and slender Jasmine-tree,
That bloomest on my border tower,
Thou art more dearly loved by me
Than all the wealth of fairy bower.
I ask not, while I near thee dwell,
Arabia's spice or Syria's rose ;
Thy light festoons more freshly smell,
Thy virgin white more freshly glows.
My mild and winsome Jasmine-tree,
That climbest up the dark gray wall,
Thy tiny flowerets seem in glee
Like silver spray-drops down to fall.
A variety of the Jasmine, with large double
flowers and exquisite scent, was first procured
in 1699 from Goa, by the grand-duke of Tuscany,
and, so jealous was he of being the sole possessor
of this species, that he strictly forbade his gardener
to give a cutting of it to any person whatever. The
gardener would probably have obeyed this injunc-
tion had he not been in love ; but, on the birthday
of his mistress, he presented her with a nosegay, in
which he had placed a sprig of this rare species of
Jasmine. Delighted with the fragrance of its flow-
ers, the girl planted the sprig in fresh mould ; it
continued green all the year, and next summer
shot forth anew and blossomed. Instructed by
her lover, she soon began to raise cuttings from
this plant and to sell them at a high price ; by this
means she amassed a little fund, which enabled
her to marry the gardener, who was as poor as
she was herself before this lucky accident. It is
said that, in memory of this event, the damsels
136 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
of Tuscany still wear a wreath of Jasmine on
their wedding-day, and that it has given rise to
this saying, that " a girl worthy of wearing the
Jasmine-wreath is rich enough to make a husband
The primitive Pink is simple red or white, and
scented ; by cultivation, the petals have been
enlarged and multiplied, and its colour infinitely
varied, from the darkest purple to the purest white,
with all the hues of red, from the rich crimson to
the pale rose, with which yellow is also frequently
blended. In some of these flowers we see the eye
of the pheasant painted ; while others are exquisitely
marbled, striped, and figured. In some varieties
two opposite colours are abruptly diversified, while
in others they seem mingled and softened off in
shades. Under all its diversities, however, it retains
its delicious, spicy fragrance, and hence has been
made the emblem of woman's love, which no cir-
cumstances can change :
Alas! the love of woman! it is known
To be a lovely and fearful thing ;
For all of theirs upon that die is thrown,
And if 'tis lost, life has no more to bring
To them but mockeries of the past alone.
138 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
It is a feartul thing,
To love as I love thee ; to feel the world,
The bright, the beautiful, joy-giving world—
A blank without thee. Never more to me
Can hope, joy, fear, wear different seeming. Now
I have no hope that does not dream for thee ;
I have no joy that is not shared by thee ;
I have no fear that does not dread for thee.
L. E. L.
Florists designate two principal divisions of
these flowers, Pinks and Carnations. The former
are marked by a spot resembling an eye, whence
the French name cellit, and a more humble growth.
The flower of the Carnation is much larger than
that of the Pink. Some derive its name from the
Latin word for flesh colour, which may have been
the original colour of the flower ; but Spenser, who
was remarkable for his care in retaining the old
manner of spelling, calls these flowers coronations :
Bringe hether the pinke and purple cullambine,
With gelliflowres ;
Bring coronations and sops in wine,
Worn of paramours.
They were also called clove-gelliflowers, from
their perfume resembling that of the spice so called,
and sops in wine, because they were on that
account frequently used to flavour dainty dishes, as
well as wine and other liquors. Thus, so early as
the time of Edward III., Chaucer says :
Then springen herbis grete and smale,
The licoris and the setewale,
And many a clove gilofre,
to put in ale,
Whether it be moist or stale.
And Shakspeare makes Perdita say :
The fairest flowers o' the season
Are our carnations and streak'd gilliflowers.
Those beautifully painted flowers, the Indian
Pink and the Sweet-willtem, belong to this
Matthisson, a German writer, describes a scene
witnessed by him near Grenoble in France, which
must deeply interest every heart capable of sympa-
thizing in the feelings of parting lovers. " Not
far from Susa, where the road of the Cenis begins to
ascend, there is a chapel dedicated to the Blessed
Virgin. Before the simple altar, surrounded by
140 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
vases of flowers, where the image of the Virgin was
faintly lighted by a single lamp, knelt a girl of
about eighteen, absorbed in devotion, and her dark
eyes filled with tears. She was one of those nymph-
like figures which the magic pencil of Angelica
Kauffman was fond of transferring to the canvas.
In her clasped hand she held a bouquet of clove
carnations, tied with a silk ribbon, of the delightful
colour of hope. With such devotion prays the
saint in that masterpiece of Garofalo's, in the
cathedral of Ferrara, in whose folded hands the artist
in allusion to his own name has placed a nosegay
of the same flowers. The morning was so lovely
and the air so mild that I had left the caniage to
follow me, and was walking forward alone. Near
the chapel I seated myself on a mass of rock. The
girl rose from prayer, and presently appeared a
hale young man driving three loaded horses. The
moment she saw him she flew into his arms. Not
a word passed on either side. Amidst tears and
kisses, she presented to him the bouquet of carna-
tions with an inexpressible look of tenderness,
strove to speak, but could not utter a word. The
young man placed his flowers in the bosom with as
much reverence as if they had been the relics of a
saint. The fond girl had been praying for the
safety of her lover during the dangerous journey
on which he was setting out, and had waited at
the chapel for the farewell embrace."
142 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS,
I wish that our botanists would attach a moral
idea to all the plants they wish to describe. They
would thus form a sort of universal dictionary,
understood by all nations, and enduring as the
world itself, since each spring would reproduce it
without the slightest alteration of the characters.
The altars of the great Jupiter are overthrown :
the forests which witnessed the mysteries of the
Druids no longer exist; the pyramids of Egypt will
some day disappear, buried like the Sphynx, be-
neath the sands of the desert : but the lotus and
acanthus will still blossom on the banks of the
Nile; the misletoe will still grow upon the oak;
and the Vervain upon the barren hills.
Vervain was employed by the ancients in various
kinds of divinations : they ascribe to it a thousand
properties, and among others that of reconciling
v enP!nies. Whenever the Roninns sent their heralds
to offer peace or war to nations, one of them always
carried a sprig of Vervain. The Druids, both in
Gaul and Britain, regarded the Vervain with the
same veneration as the misletoe, and offered sacri-
fices to the earth before they cut this plant in spring,
which was a ceremony of great pomp.
The Druids held their power through the igno-
rance and superstition of the people, and, being
acquainted with the qualities of plants and other
objects of Nature, they ascribed their effects to the
power of magic and divination, pretending to work
miracles, to exhibit astonishing appearances, and to
penetrate into the counsels of Heaven. Although
so many ages have passed away since the time of
the Druids, the belief in their pretended spells is not
yet wholly abolished. Thus in the northern pro-
vinces of France the shepherds still continue to
gather the Vervain, with ceremonies and words
known only to themselves, and to express its juices
under certain phases of the moon. At once the
doctors and conjurors of their village, they alter-
nately cure the complaints of their masters or fill
them with dread ; for the same means which relieve
their ailments enable them to cast a spell on their
cattle and on the hearts of their daughters. They
144 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
insist that this power is given to them by Vervain,
especially when the damsels are young and hand-
Thus Vervain is still the plant of spells and
enchantments, as it was among the ancients.
T - plan! : ~ used by the C "-v-.eks and Romans
as an article of diet, as it ic still by the people of
Eg; From this sjaci 'ation of Job:
" V ... . ?ws by tr .:- lea and juniper-
roc eir meat 1" we learn that it afforded food
in the earliest times to those wandering tribes, which
chose rather to pitch their tents in the wilderness
and to depend on the spontaneous gifts of Bountiful
Nature, than to dwell in permanent habitations and
to labour fcr their support.
The common mallow, the friend of the poor man,
grows naturally beside the brook that quenches his
tl ; 'st, and around the hut in which he dwells; and
it borders the road-sides in most parts of Europe,
Though it continues la blossom from the month ol
May to the end of October, yet its lowers never tire
the eye, their petals being of a deiicc.te, reddish,
purple, sometimes varying to a whitish, or inclining
146 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
to a blueish cast, with three or four darker streaks
running from the base.
The flower, stalk, leaf, and root, of this plant are
all beneficial to man. With its different juices are
composed syrups and ointments, equally agreeable to
the taste and conducive to health. The way-lost
traveller has occasionally found in its root a whole-
some and substantial food. We need but look down
to our feet to discover, throughout all Nature, proofs
of her love and provident care ; but this affectionate
mother has often concealed, in plants as well as in
human beings, the greatest virtues under the sim-
It is, nevertheless, fortunate for the husbandman
that Nature should have assigned to the Mallow a
place on the banks and borders of fields, and not
scattered it over the meadows, where its spreading
branches would have injured the turf, and where, as
cattle in general refuse to eat this plant, it would
have soon overrun and smothered other vegetation.
FLOS ADONIS. 147
Adonis was killed, while hunting, by a boar.
Venus, who, for his sake, had relinquished the joys
of Cythera, shed tears for the fate of her favourite.
They were not lost ; the earth received them, and
immediately produced a light, delicate plant, covered
with flowers resembling drops of blood. Bright
and transient flowers, too faithful emblems of the
pleasures of life, ye were consecrated by Beauty
herself to painful recollections !
That this flower owes its name to the favourite
Venus is not to be disputed ; but, whether the god-
dess of beauty changed her lover into this plant or
the anemone it would be difficult to decide, since
the Linnean system of dividing plants into families
did not exist when the gods and goddesses made
love upon earth ; and, before the time of the Swedish
botanist the Adonis was classed among the anemones,
which it greatly resembles.
148 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The Lily's height bespake command—
A fair, imperial flower ;
She seemed designed for Flora's hand,
The sceptre of her power.
The beauty and delicacy of the Lily have beeE
celebrated by the writers of all ages. So highly
was it esteemed by the Jews that they imitated its
form in the decorations of their first magnificent
temple ; and Christ himself described it as being
more splendid than the great King Solomon in his
most gorgeous apparel.
Observe the rising Lily's snowy grace,
Observe the various vegetable race ;
They neither toil nor spin, but careless grow :
Yet see how warm they blush, how bright they glow,
What regal vestments can with them compare !
What king so shining, or what queen so fair !
According to the heathen mythology, there was
originally only one species of Lily, namely, the
orange coloured ; and the white was produced by
the following circumstance. Jupiter, being desirous
to render Hercules immortal, prevailed on Juno to
take a deep draught of nectar ; which, having been
prepared by Somnus, threw the queen of the gods
into a profound slumbeT. Jupiter took advantage
of this to place the infant Hercules to her breast,
that the divine milk might ensure his immortality.
The infant, in his eagerness, drew the milk faster
than he could swallow it, and some drops fell to the
earth, from which immediately sprung the White
The ladies on the Continent have long held in
the highest esteem a cosmetic prepared from the
flowers of the White Lily by means of a vapour-
bath. It is said to preserve and improve the fresh-
ness of the complexion, and to remove pimples and
150 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
This flower, which is now become the pride of
every British parterre, has been made the emblem
of lasting beauty ; for, though it is less graceful than
the rose, and not so superb as the lily, its splendour
is more durable and its fragrance of longer contin-
uance. It was one of the earliest inmates of our
gardens that was cultivated by the dames of baronial
castles, whence it was formerly called castle
gillyflower and dames' violet ; for the name of violet
was given to many flowers which had either a purple
tint or an agreeable smell. The name of gilly-
flower was also common to other plants, as the
wall-gillyflower (wall flower) and the clove-gilly-
flower, a species of pink or carnation.
Few flowering plants have been so much and so
rapidly improved by cultivation as the Stock.
Within the last two centuries, its nature has been
so completely changed by the art of the florist, that
what was in queen Elizabeth's time, but one degree
removed from a small mountain or sea-side flower,
is now become almost a shrub in size, whose branches
are covered with blossoms little inferior in dimen-
sions to the rose, and so thickly set as to form a
mass of beauty not surpassed by any of the exoticks
which the other quarters of the globe have poured
into our gardens. Phillips mentions a Stock grown
at Notting Hill, near Bayswater, which measured
eleven feet nine inches in circumference, in May,
Stocks are produced of several colours, both
double and single red, white, purple, and speckled.
Of these the bright red or carmine Stock must ever
remain the favourite variety. The principal branches
of this fragrant family are the Ten-week Stock, so
named from flowering in about ten weeks after it
is sown ; and the Brompton, which does not blossom
till about twelve months after sowing, and was first
cultivated in the neighbourhood of Brompton.
Phillips gives an amusing account of the beneficial
effect which the sight and name of this flower had
on the spirits of an acquaintance with whom he was
making a tour in Normandy, in the first summer
after the restoration of Louis XVIII. " He had
been induced to join a small party, and leaves his
152 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
home, for the first time, to visit the opposite coast ;
but so truly Brit'sh were his habits, that nothing
could please or satisfy him. The soup was meagre,
the p< ^age acid, the peas sweet, the wine sfriur, ihe
coffee bitter: the girls brown, their eyes too
;heir caps too high, thei- petticoats too shi
'language unintelligr ' eir houses old, t he inns
uirty, the country too ... the ro.'J' right
in short, he saw every :. Lg with such disconl.n.ed
eyes as to render the p ^comfortable, until good
fortune led us to inn, where, in a small
garden, were growing several fine Stocks, *.
he affirmed, were the first good things he had seen
since he left Sussex. On hearing the landlady
acknowledge them to be de Girojliers de Brompton,
he insisted on halting a.': her house, where he treated
the party with a dejeuner d lafourchette, and left
the village with a sprig of the Brompton stock in
his button-hole, his eyes sparkling with champaigne
and good-humour, which lasted for the remainder of
the journey, during which he often exclaimed,
' Thanks to the Brompton Stock !' "
I once saw, in a rich gallery of paintings, a
pretty minature, in which the artist had repre-
sented Grief, under the form of a young man,
pale and languishing, whose reclining head seemed
bowed down by the weighfof a wreath of Marigolds.
Every body is familiar with this golden flower,
which is a conventional emblem of distress of mind.
It is distinguished by many singular properties. It
blossoms the whole year ; and, on that account, the
Romans termed it the flower of the calends, in
other words, of all the months. Its flowers are
open only from nine in the morning till three in
the afternoon. They, however, always turn towards
the sun, and follow his course from east to west.
In July and August these flowers emit, during the
night, small luminous sparks. In this point they
resemble the nasturtium and many other flowers of
the same colour.
154 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The melancholy signification of the Marigold
may be modified in a thousand ways. Combined
with roses, the symbol expresses the bitter sweets
and pleasant pains of love. Alone it expresses
grief; interwoven with other flowers, the varying
events of life, the " mingled yarn of good and ill
together." In the East, a bouquet of Marigolds
and poppies expresses this thought — " I will allay
your pain." It is more especially by such modifica-
tions that the Language of Flowers becomes the in-
terpretation of our thoughts. Marguerite of Orleans,
the maternal grandmother of Henry IV., chose for
her armorial device a Marigold turning towards the
sun, and for the motto, ' Je ne veux suivre que lui
seul." By this device the virtuous princess con-
veyed the idea that all her thoughts and affections
turned towards heaven, as the Marigold towards
One of our older poets thus moralizes over this
When, with a serious musing, I behold
The grateful and obsequious Marigold,
• How duly, every morning, she displays
Her open breast when Phoebus spreads his rays ;
How she observes him in his daily walk
Still bending towards turn her small slender stalk ;
How, when he down declines, she droops and mourns,
Bedew'd as 'twere with tears till he returns ;
And how she veils her flowers when he is gone,
As if she scorned to be looked upon
By an inferior eye, or did contemn
To wait upon a meaner light than him:
When this I meditate, methinks the flowers
Have spirits far more generous than ours,
And give us fair examples to despise
The servile fawnings and idolatries
Wherewith we court these earthly things below,
Which merit not the service we bestow.
156 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
TOUR QUALITIES SURPASS TOUR CHARMS.
Nearlt one hundred years have run their course
since the Mignonette first bloomed in our climes.
It was brought from Egypt. Linneus, who gave to
it the name of Reseda odorata, compares its perfume
with that of ambrosia : its fragrance is stronger at
the rising and setting of the sun than at noon.
Mignonette flowers from the beginning of spring to
the end of autumn ; but, by preserving it in a
temperate green-house, its sweets may be inhaled in
the winter season. It then becomes woody, lives
many years, shoots up and forms with care a shrub
of the most charming appearance.
No gorgeous flowers the meek Reseda grace,
Yet sip, with eager trunk, yon busy race
Her simple cup, uor heed the dazzling gem
That beams in Fritillaria's diadem.
The Acacia is a native of North America, from
Canada to Carolina, and it has been consecrated by
the Indians to the genius of chaste love. Their
bows are made of the incorruptible wood of this
tree, and their arrows are pointed with its thorns.
Those wild sons of the desert are susceptible of an
attachment fraught with delicacy : they may per-
haps be unable to give utterance to it in words, but
they find means to express it in a branch of Acacia
when in blossom. The Indian girl, like the city
coquette, understands this flattering language, and
receives, with a blush, the homage of him who has
won her heart by his respect and love.
It is not much more than a century since this
ornamental tree was introduced into the gardens
of France, from American seeds, by Robin the
botanist, after whom this family was named Ro-
binia. It is a large, handsome tree, of quick growth,
158 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
beginning from the third year to convert its sap into
perfect wood, which is of so fine a grain and so hard
as to be substituted by turners for box in many
kinds of light work. Its foliage, of a bright green,
is peculiarly light and elegant. The species of
Acacia most commonly cultivated are the Psuedo-
Acacia, with white blossoms, and the Acacia gluti-
nosa, so named from a clammy moisture which
covers its branches, with rose-coloured flowers. The
Rose Acacia is a highly ornamental shrub, with
large bunches of pink-coloured, papilionaceous
blossoms, whose beauty, like that of the moss-
rose, is enhanced by the bristly covering of the
stalk and calyx.
Too often enervated by luxurious ease, an indo-
lent beauty languishes the whole day, and avoids
the cheering rays of the sun. At night, arrayed
with all the art of coquetry, she exhibits herself to
her admirers. The unsteady and delusive light of
tapers, aiming her artifices, lends her a deceptive
brilliancy, and she enchants by charms that are not
her own. Her heart, meanwhile, is a stranger to
love : all that she wants is slaves, victims. Impru-
dent youth, flee from the approach of this enchant-
ress. Nature alone is sufficient, art useless, in
order to please and to love. She who employs the
latter is always dangerous, perfidious.
The flowers of the Thorn-apple, like those noc-
turnal beauties, droop while the sun shines beneath
their dull-looking foliage ; but, on the approach of
night, they revive, display their charms, and unfold
their prodigious bdh, which Nature has coloured
160 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
with purple and lined with ivory : and to which she
has given an odour that attracts and intoxicates,
but is so dangerous as to stupify those who inhale it
even in the open air. The Thorn-apple of Peru is
the most splendid variety of this species, each
flower being often two feet in length ; and some-
times there are one hundred and fifty open at once
on the tree.
It is a dangerous plant to be allowed to grow
where there are children, as the beauty of its flow-
ers and fruit is liable to tempt them to their destruc-
tion ; since it possesses so poisonous a quality as to
produce paralysis and even madness in those who
have inadvertently eaten of it. As a medicine, its
leaves have been recently recommended for cough
and asthma, dried and mixed with ordinary or herb
tobacco for smoking.
CAROLINA JASMINE. 161
How many exquisite harmonics arise on every side
of us, from the association of plants with animals !
The butterfly embellishes the rose, the song of birds
enliven the groves, the bee confers a new charm on
the flower about which it buzzes, and from which it
extracts its sweets. Thus, throughout all Nature, the
insect is adapted to the flower, the bird to the tree, the
quadruped to the plant. Man alone is capable of
discovering these connexions, and he alone has the
power of breaking that chain of consonance and
love by which all things in the world are bound
together. If with eager and imprudent hand he
attempts to remove an animal from its native home,
thinking only of his own convenience, he usually
forgets the plant which would have reconciled his
new slave to this separation from his birthplace.
If he takes away a plant, he neglects the insect
162 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
which enlivens, the bird which embellishes it, and
the quadruped which feeds upon its leaves and re-
poses in its shade.
Look at the Carolina Jasmine! With its beautiful
foliage and scarlet flowers, it remains an alien
among us. For our parts, we prefer to it our sweet
native honeysuckle, to which the bee resorts to
suck its honey, the goat to browse on its leaves,
and flocks of thrushes, linnets, finches, and other
small birds, to feast upon its berries. No doubt
the rich Jasmine of Carolina would counterbalance
all these advantages in our estimation, were we to
see it enlivened by the humming-bird of Florida,
which, in the vast forests of the New World,
prefers its beautiful foliage to that of every other
tree. " He builds his nest," says St. Pierre, " in
one of the leaves of this plant, which he rolls up
into the form of a cone : he finds his subsistence in
its red flowers, resembling those of the foxglove,
the nectareous glands of which he licks with his
tongue ; he squeezes into them his little body, which
looks in these flowers like an emerald set in
coral, and sometimes gets so far that he may be
caught in this situation." This little creature is
the soul, the life, an essential accompaniment, of
CAROLINA JASMINE. 163
the plant in which he delights. When separated
from her winged guest, this beautiful creeper
is like a desolate widow who has lost all her
164 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
THE RUSTIC ORACLE.
When you bend your steps through the plain,
or ascend the hill-side, or stand on the mountain-top,
look down to the greensward at your feet, and you
will percive patches of verdure, covered with golden
flowers, or with light and transparent globes. It is
the Dandelion, the oracle of the fields, which may
be every where consulted. Like man, it is spread
over the whole face of the globe ; it is found in the
four quarters <5f the world, near the pole as beneath
the equator, on the margin of rivers and streams as
well as on sterile rocks : every where it offers to the
hand that would gather, or the eye that would con-
sult them, its flowers, which shut and open at certain
hours, serving the solitary shepherd for a clock,
while its feathery tufts are his barometer, predicting
calm or storm.
On the swart turf their ray-encircled gold;
With Sol's expanding beam the flowers unclose,
And rising Hesper lights them to repose.
She, enamoured of the sun,
At his departure hangs her head and weeps.
And shrouds her sweetness up, and keeps
Sad vigils, like a cloistered nun,
Till his reviving ray appears,
Waking her beauty as he dries her tears.
Thus in each flower and simple bell
That in our path betrodden lie
Are sweet remembrancers, who tell
How fast their winged moments fly.
But the globes formed by the seeds of the Dande-
lion serve for other purposes. Are you separated
from the object of your love 1 — carefully pluck one
of those feathery spheres ; charge each of the little
feathers composing it with a tender thought ; turn
towards the spot where the loved one dwells ; blow,
and the little aerial travellers will faithfully convey
your secret message to his or her feet. Do you
wish to know if that dear one is thinking of you,
as you are thinking of him or her, blow again ; and
if there is left upon the stalk a single aigrette, it is a
166 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
proof that you are not forgotten. But this second
trial must be conducted with great caution. You
must blow very gently ; for, at any age, even at
that which love renders most resplendent, it is
wrong to dispel too rudely the illusions which em-
The Dandelion attracts attention at a much
earlier period of life. Friend Howitt speaks of
Dandelion, with globe of down,
The schoolboy's clock in every town,
Which the truant puff's amain,
To conjure lost hours back agsin.
As these plants, or rather the juice extracted from
them, are employed to ease pain and to procure sleep
to the restless invalid, the red Poppy in floral lan-
guage is made the symbol of consolation. The
white Poppy is supposed to express " My bane, my
According to the Grecian mythology, the Poppy
owed its origin to Ceres, who created it to assuage
her grief, during her search after her daughter Pro-
serpine, who was carried off by Pluto.
Indulgent Ceres knew my worth.
And to adorn the teeming earth
She bade the Poppy rise.
Sleep bringing Pnppy, by the ploughman late,
Not without cause, to Ceres consecrate.
168 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The largest heads of the single white Poppy are
preferred for making opium. These, being wounded
before they are mature, and while growing, yield a
milky juice ; this, being collected and dried, be-
comes opium, of which laudanum is made. Accord-
ing to the quantity taken, laudanum operates either
as a powerful remedy or a destructive poison.
From a Poppy I have taken
Mortal's balm, and mortal's bane;
Juice that, creeping through the heart,
Deadens every sense of smart ;
Doomed to heal or doomed to kill,
Fraught with good or fraught with ill.
The Poppy has of late years been extensively cul-
tivated in this country for the making of opium,
which is found to be equal in all its qualities to that
formerly imported from Turkey. The quantity an-
nually consumed in England is about fifty thousand
pounds. In Germany an oil is extracted from the
seed of the Poppy, that is not inferior to the finest
Italian oils for culinary purposes, if used within the
Many species of Poppies are cultivated in the gar-
den. The double ones are flowers of surpassing
beauty, whether we consider their delicate texture,
elegance of shape, or variety of colouring. But, in-
dependently of the flower, the capsule, or seed-case,
alone, of the Poppy cannot be examined without ex-
citing the utmost admiration of the wisdom with
which it has been formed. It is covered by a shield-
formed stigma, or cap, thickly perforated with holes
to admit the fecundating particles of the farina to
the channels which are so disposed around the eleven
cells, or chambers, of the capsule, that each seed
receives its regular portion of this matter by means
of an umbilical cord : though there are frequently
six thousand of these vegetable eggs enclosed in one-
capsule. When we consider that each of these
minute seeds is so admirably perfect as to contain
all the essentials necessary to form in the following
year a plant capable of producing at least twenty
capsules, we cannot forbear exclaiming with the
poet : —
How wondrous are thy ways !
How far above our knowledge and our praise !
fn the time of Gesner, the celebrated botanist of
Switzerland, the village Damon and Chloes proved
170 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
the sincerity of their lovers by placing in the hollow
of the palm of the left hand a petal or flower-leaf, of
the Poppy, which, on being struck by the other
hand, was broken with a sharp sound, which denoted
true attachment, but faithlessness when it failed to
By a prophetic Poppy leaf I found
Your changed affection, for it gave no sound,
Though in my hand struck hollow as it lay ;
But quickly withered, like your love, away.
Corn is a term applied to all sorts of grain fit for
food, particularly wheat, barley, oats, and rye. All
of them belong to the grand division of grasses,
which are distinguished from other plants by their
simple, straight, unbranched stalk, hollow, and
jointed, commonly called straw ; with loug, narrow,
tapering leaves, placed at each joint of the stalk, and
sheathing and enclosing it, as if by way of support.
Ceres, the goddess of corn and harvest, was
represented with a garland of ears of corn on her
head, the commemoration of the loss of her daugh-
ter Proserpine was celebrated about the beginning
of harvest; that of her search after her at the time
of sowing corn.
Botanists assure us that corn is not found any
172 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
where in its primitive state. This plant, togethei
with the use of fire, seems to have been bestowed by
Providence on man, in order to secure to him the
dominion of the earth. With corn and fire, he may
dispense with all other gifts, or rather, he may
acquire them all. With corn alone he can feed
all the domestic animals, which furnish him with
subsistence or share his labours. Corn is the first
bond of society, because its culture and preparation
demand hard labour and mutual services.
An Arab, having lost his way in the desert, had
been two days without food : death by hunger
stared him in the face. At length coming to a well
where caravans were accustomed to halt, he per-
ceived a small leathern bag lying on the sand. He
picked it up. " God be praised !" said he — " 'tis a
little flour I presume." He lost no time in untying
it, and, at the sight of its contents, he exclaimed:
" Unfortunate creature that I am ! it is only gold-
A whole straw has been made the emblem of
union, and a broken straw, of rupture. The custom
of breaking a straw to express the rupture of a con-
tract may be traced back to an early period of
French history, and may be almost said to have had
a royal origin. The ancient chroniclers relate that,
in 922, Charles the Simple, finding himself aban-
doned by the principal lords of his court, had the
imprudence to call a meeting of the Champ de Mai
at Soissons. There he sought friends, but found
only factious opponents, whose audacity was in-
creased by his weakness. Some reproached him
with indolence, prodigality, and his blind confidence
in his minister Haganon ; others with his disgrace-
ful concessions to Raoul, the Norman chieftain.
Surrounded by the seditious crowd, he had recourse
to entreaties and promises, hoping to escape from
them by fresh concessions, but in vain. The more
he betrayed his weakness the bolder they grew, and
at length they declared that he should no longer be
their king. At these words, pronounced with vehe-
mence, and accompanied with threats, they advanced
to the foot of the throne, broke the straws which
they held in their hands, dashed them to the ground,
and retired, after declaring by this act that they thus
broke all compacts with him.
This is the most ancient instance of the kind on
record ; but it proves that this method of breaking
contracts had long been customary ; since the
174 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
great vassals thought it unnecessary to accompany
the act with a single word of explanation. They
were sure of being understood, and they were so.
YELLOW DAY LILY. 175
YELLOW DAY LILY.
This fragile beauty is made the emblem of
coquetry, because its flower seldom lasts a second
day ; hence the French have named it Belle de
jour, and it has been thus characterized, by one of
their poets :
Aux t'eux duiit L'air euneelle
S'ouvre la Belle de jour ;
Zephyr la flatte de l'aille ;
La friponne encore appelle
Les papillons d'alentour.
Coquettes, c'est votre embleine :
Le grand jour, lo bruit vous plait,
Briller est votre art supreme ;
Sans eclat le plaisir nienie
Devient pour vous sans attrait.
It flowers in June, and, though the blossoms are
so short-lived, yet they are followed by a succession
of others, so that the plant continues to display its
beauty, and to give out its agreeable fragrance, for a
176 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The Sensitive Plant is so called from its motions
imitating the sensibility of animal life. The plants
of this genus naturally contract themselves in the
evening, and expand with the morning's light : and
they are still more remarkable for shrinking from
external violence, and folding up their leaves at the
mere approach of one's hand.
Whence does it happen that the plant, which well
We name the Sensitive, should move and feel 1
Whence know her leaves to answer her command,
And with quick horror fly the neighbouring hand ?
These are questions which naturalists have not
yet been able to answer. Darwin asks : " May it
not be owing to a numbness, or paralysis, consequent
to too violent irritation, like the fainting of animals
SENSITIVE PLANT. 177
from pain or fatigue?" The same writer thus cha-
racterizes the general habits of this plant :
Weak with nice sense, the chaste Mimosa stands,
From each rude touch withdraws her timid hands
Oft as light clouds o'erpass the summer's glade,
Alarm'd she trembles at the moving shade,
And feels, alive through all her tender form,
The whisper'd murmurs of the gathering storm ;
Shuts her sweet eyelids to approaching night,
And hails with freshen'd charms the rosy light.
Her susceptibility, however, even in the highest
degree of excitement, never instigates her to injure
the indiscreet hand which touches her, but only to
draw back from it. The Sensitive Plant strives
neither to punish nor to revenge herself. Like
those modest females, who never think of arming
themselves with severity, she uses not her thorny
bristles ; she merely shrinks from the approach of
the intruder. The violet is the emblem of that
retiring modesty which proceeds from reflection ;
but the Sensitive Plant is a perfect image of
innocence and virgin modesty. She suspects no
harm, because she knows none, and shows herself
without mistrust : but, as soon as she is gazed at
178 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
too closely, she withdraws herself as much as pos-
sible from the inquisitive eye. This modesty ap-
pears to be in her an instinct, a sense, and not the
result of reflection.
Attemper'd suns arise,
Sweet-beani'd and shedding oft through lucid clouds
A pleasing calm ; while, broad and brown below,
Extensive harvests h^ng the heavy head.
Rich, silent, deep, they stand; for not a gale
Rolls its light billows o'er the bending plain :
A calm of plenty !
Who loves not Autumn's joyous round,
"When corn, and wine, and oil abound?
Yet who would choose, however gay,
A year of unrenewed decay ?
No spring or summer's beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one Autumnal face.
Autumn tinges every fertile branch
With blooming gold, and blushes like the morn.
180 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Go to the silent Autumn woods !
There has gone forth a spirit stern;
Its wing has waved in triumph here,
The spring's green tender leaf is sere,
And withering hangs the summer fern.
In our favoured country, Spring is clothed in
a green robe enamelled with flowers, which owes
all its ornaments to Nature. Summer, crowned
with blue-bottles and wild poppies, proud of her
golden harvests, receives from the hand of man
part of her decorations ; whilst Autumn appears
laden with fruit brought to perfection by his industry.
Here the juicy peach is tinged with the colours of
the rose ; the fine flavoured apricot borrows the gold
that glows in the bosom of the ranunculus ; the
grape decks itself with the purple of the violet ; and
the apple with the varied hues of the gaudy tulip.
All these fruits are so like flowers, that one would
suppose them to have been made only to delight
the eye: but yet they come to increase the
abundance of our stores, and Autumn, which pours
them upon our tables, seems to proclaim that they
are the last gifts which Nature means to lavish
But a new Flora suddenly makes her appearance,
the offspring of commerce and industry. She was
unknown to Greece in her best days, and to our
simple forefathers. Roving about incessantly over
the earth, she enriches us with the productions of
every country. She comes, and our dull and for-
saken gardens acquire fresh splendour. The China
aster is intermingled with the beauteous pink of
India ; the mignonette from the banks of the Nile
grows at the foot of the eastern tuberose : the helio-
trope, the nasturtium and nightshade of Peru, blossom
at the foot of the beautiful acacia of Constantinople ;
the Persian jasmine unites with that of Carolina to
cover our arbours and to embellish our bowers ; the
hollyhock and the Passion flowers, also denominated
the Jerusalem cross, which reminds us of the Cru-
sades, raise their splendid heads beside the persicaria
of the East ; and Autumn, which could formerly
find nothing but ears of corn and vine-leaves to
compose a garland for her brows, is now astonished
to find herself crowned with such rich adornments,
and to be enabled to mingle with them the ever-
flowering rose of the plains of Bengal.
Dearly do I love to observe these beautiful
strangers, which have retained amongst us their
native instincts and habits. 1 he sensitive plant
182 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
shrinks from my hand, as it does from that of the
American savage; the African marigold predicts to
me, as to the black inhabitants of the desert, dry or
rainy weather ; the day-lily of Portugal tells me
that in an hour it will be noon ; and the Peruvian
nightshade informs the timid lover that the try sting-
hour is at hand.
The name of this beautiful little flower, which
enamels the banks of our rivers with its corollas of
celestial blue, corresponds with the signification that
is now universally attached to it. That name it
derived from a German tradition full of melancholy
romance. It is related that a young couple, on the
eve of being united, whilst walking along the de-
lightful banks of the Danube, saw a cluster of these
lovely flowers floating on the stream, which was
bearing it away. The affianced bride admired the
beauty of the flower, and lamented its fatal destiny.
The lover plunged into the water to secure it : no
sooner had he caught it than he found himself sink-
ing, but, making a last effort, he threw it on the
bank at the feet of his betrothed, and, at the mo-
ment of disappearing for ever, exclaimed Vergiss
inein nicht ! Since that event, this flower has been
made emblematical of the sentiment, and been dis-
tinguished by the name of Forget-me-not. Its
184 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Linnean appellation is Myosotis palustris, and its
common English name, Mouse-ear Scorpion-grass.
It is not surprising that the Forget-me-not should
have become a favourite with our own poets as
well as those of Germany. In Gbthe's " Lay of
the Imprisoned Knight," translated by Lord Francis
Leveson Gower, are these stanzas :
Not on the mountain's shelving side,
Nor in the cultivated ground,
Nor in the garden's painted pride,
The flower I seek is found.
Where Time on sorrow's page of gloom
Has fixed its envious lot,
Or swept the record from the tomb,
It says Forget-me-not.
And this is still the loveliest flower,
The fairest of the fair,
Of all that deck my lady's bower,
Or bind her floating hair.
It has been figured as a device on the seals of
lovers who have sung its praises in their verses.
To flourish in my favourite bower,
To blossom round my cot,
I cultivate the little flower
They call Forget-me not.
It springs where Avon gently flows
In wild simplicity,
And 'neath my cottage-window grows,
Sacred to love and thee.
This pretty little floweret's dye
Of soft cerulean blue,
Appears as if from Ellen's eye
It had received its hue.
Though oceans now betwixt us roar.
Though distant be our lot,
Ellen ! though we should meet no more,
Sweet maid, Forget me not !
The Myosotis palnstris is no where found in
greater perfection and abundance than on the bank
of a stream near Luxemburg, which springs from
the foot of an oak, that appears as old as the world,
and, forming a number of little cascades, descends
into an extensive plain. It is only the bank most
exposed to the south that is thickly bordered by the
Forget-me-not, and the plants hanging down seem
to delight in looking at themselves in the chrystal
mirror of the stream, which is called The Fairies'
bath, or the Cascade of the Enchanted Oak. To
this favourite spot the young females often descend
from the ramparts of the city, on holidays, to dance
186 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS,
near the brook. To see them crowned with the
flowers that line its bank, you would take them for
Nymphs holding their revels in honour of the Naiad
of the Enchanted Oak.
For some years this little flower has been culti-
vated in France with the greatest care, and it finds
a ready sale in the markets in Paris. Phillips
recommends its cultivation for the same purpose in
this country, particularly to cottagers who live near
towns ; " as, by transplanting the trailing branches
from their borders into small pots, they would find
it a profitable employ to send them to market, for
few people would withstand the temptation to pur-
chase these interesting flowers, that carry in their
eye the tale of Forget-me-not.
The same writer says he has been informed that
" the decoction or the juice of this plant has the
peculiar property of hardening steel ; and that, if
edge-tools of that metal be made red-hot, and then
quenched in the juice, and this process be repeated
several times, the steel will become so hard as to cut
iron, and even stone, without turning the edge."
CHINA ASTER. 187
The numerous family of radiated flowers were
named Aster from the Greek word signifying Star.
Our European gardens are indebted for the China
Aster to Father d'Incarville, a Jesuit missionary,
who, about the year 1730, sent seeds of it to the
royal garden at Paris. At first the plants produced
only single flowers of one uniform colour ; but,
through cultivation and change of soil, double varie-
ties were obtained, and so diversified in colour that
they form one of the principal ornaments of our
parterres from July to November ; and the China
Aster is thence made the emblem of variety. In
like manner, study is capable of multiplying without
limit the graces and refinements of the uncultivated
mind. Brilliant and majestic, the Aster does not
pretend to rival the rose, but it succeeds her, and
consoles us in autumn for her absence.
188 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
It was at first supposed that the Chinese were
acquainted only with the single purple Aster that
was sent to France : but they possess all the varie-
ties which we admire, and display a taste in the
arrangement of these star-formed flowers, which
leaves the British florists far in the back-ground.
Even our most curious amateurs have yet to learn
what effect these plants are capable of producing by
their gay corollas, when carefully distributed by the
hand of taste.
Figure to yourself for instance a bank sloping to
a piece of water, covered with these gay flowers, so
arranged as to rival the richest patterns of Persian
carpets, or the most curious figures that can be
devised by the artist in fillagree. Imagine them
reflected in the water, and you will have a faint idea
of the enchanting effect produced by these brilliant
stars in the gardens of China.
I once attempted this kind of decoration, of which
a celebrated traveller had talked to me a great deal,
but failed to produce the full effect intended, owing
to the lack of that profusion of flowers, that variety
of shades of the same colour, and, above all, that
admirable Chinese patience which conquers all obsta-
cles. My little theatre, however, which was rather
CHINA ASTER. 189
disposed in stripes than in steps, delighted all who
beheld it ; and many were astonished, as well as
myself, that nothing of the kind had ever yet been
attempted for the decoration of our gardens or to set
off our festivities.
190 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
This superb child of the East, to which Linneus
gave by way of eminence the epithet Polianthus,
from two Greek words signifying a town and a
flower, because it is generally cultivated and sold in
towns, was first brought from Persia to France in
1632. It was then but single, and double flowers
were not produced till long afterwards by a skilful
florist of Leyden, named Lecour. It has since
spread over all the world. In Russia, indeed, it
flowers only for sovereigns and the great ; but it
has become naturalized in Peru, where it grows
without culture, and unites with the glowing
nasturtium to adorn the bosom of the American
The flower of the Tuberose, which grows on the
top of a very tall, slender stem, is of a white colour,
sometimes tinged with a blush of pink. Its perfume
is delicious, rich, and powerful. If you would
enjoy it without danger, keep at some distance from
the plant. To increase tenfold the pleasure which
it affords, come with the object of your affection to
inhale its perfume by moonlight, when the night-
ingale is pouring forth his soul in song.
The Tuberose, with her silvery light,
That in the gardens of Malay
Is call'd the mistress of the night,
So like a bride, scented and bright,
She comes out when the sun's away.
Then, by a secret virtue, these grateful odours
will add an inexpressible charm to your enjoyment ;
but, if regardless of the precepts of moderation, you
will approach too near, this divine flower will then
be but a dangerous enchantress, which will pour
into your bosom a deadly poison. Thus the love
which descends from heaven purifies and exalts the
delights of a chaste passion ; but that which springs
from the earth proves the bane and the destruction
of imprudent youth. •
192 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
This flower has been confounded with the sun-
flower, though it is of a different genus, and totally
unlike the latter. To both has been ascribed the
property of turning towards the sun, and following
his course round the horizon ; a property not con-
fined to these flowers, as there are others that do
the same in a greater or less degree.
The blossoms of the Heliotrope form clusters of
very small, delicate, fragrant flowers, generally of a
faint purple colour, or white, sometimes red, and
bluish white. It is, as its name implies, a native
of Peru, where it was discovered by the celebrated
Jussieu. While botanizing one day in the Cordil-
leras, he suddenly found himself overpowered by
an intoxicating perfume. He looked around, ex-
pecting to find some gaudy flower or other from
which it proceeded, but could perceive nothing but
PERUVIAN HELIOTROPE. 193
some handsome bushes, of a light green, the extre-
mities of whose sprays were tipped with flowers of
a faint blue colour. He went up to these bushes,
which were about six feet high, and saw that the
flowers which they bore were all turned towards
the sun. Struck with this peculiarity, the learned
botanist gave to the plant the name of Heliotrope,
and, collecting some of its seeds, he sent them to
the royal garden at Paris, where the Heliotrope
was first cultivated in 1740. It has since spread
to all the countries of Europe, and, though there is
nothing striking in its appearance, it has become a
general favourite with the fair sex.
An anonymous poet has drawn from this flower
a signification, the very reverse of that which we
have attached to it :
There is a flower, whose modest eye
Is turned with looks of light and love,
Who breathes her softest, sweetest sigh,
Whene'er the sun is bright above.
Let clouds obscure, or darkness veil,
Her fond idolatry is fled;
Her sighs no more their sweets exhale
The loving eye is cold and dead.
194 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Canst thou not trace a moral here,
False flatterer of the prosperous hour?
Let but an adverse cloud appear,
And thou art faithless as the flow'r.
ytfti /ft* ,:,///, ^s/,. ,;',-/,...„,./ ,,,,// /,„/.^. /.,/,,,/.
The Sunflower has been thus named from the re-
semblance which its broad golden disk and surround-
ing rays bear to the sun. On this account it was
used in its native country by the Peruvians, who wor-
shipped that luminary — the virgins who officiated in
the Temple of the Sun being crowned with Sun-
flowers of pure gold, wearing them also at their
bosoms, and carrying them in their hands. These
golden flowers, reflecting the rays of their deity,
formed a scene of dazzling brilliancy. The first
Spaniards who arrived in Peru were amazed at this
profuse display of gold, but they were still more
astonished when in May they beheld whole fields
covered with these flowers, which they concluded at
first sight to be composed of the same precious metal.
The Sunflower has been made the emblem of false
LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
wealth, because gold, however abundant, cannot of
itself render a person truly rich. It is related that
Pythes, a rich Lydian, the owner of several gold-
mines, neglected the cultivation of his lands, which
naturally became so unproductive as not to afford the
necessaries of life. His wife, who proved herself
possessed of as much good sense as wit, at a supper
which Pythes had ordered her to prepare, caused all
the dishes to be filled with representations of the
different viands in gold. On the removal of the
covers, she said to the guests : " I set before you
such fare as we have ; for we cannot reap what we
do not sow." This lesson made a due impression
on the mind of Pythes, who acknowledged that Pro-
vidence distributes its gifts like an affectionate mo-
ther, who has a love for all her offspring, however
The French call this flower Tournesol as well as
Soleil, from a vulgar error that the blossoms turn to
the sun. The fact is, that the flowers branch out on
all sides of the plant, and those which face the east
at the opening of day never turn to the west at the
close of it. Many of our poets, however, have
adopted the popular notion that this flower regularly
turns to the sun :
But one, the lofty follower of the sun,
Sad when he sets, shuts up her yellow leaves,
Drooping all night, and, when he warm returns,
Toinls her enamour'd bosom to his ray.
Moore, in his Irish Melodies, introduces the same
As the sunflower turns to her god, when he sets,
The same look which she turn'd when he rose.
Darwin also says of the Sunflower, that it
Climbs the upland lawn,
And bows in homage to the rising dawn,
Imbibes with eagle eye the golden ray,
And watches, as it moves, the orb of day.
Uplift, proud Sunflower, to thy favourite orb,
That disk whereon his brightness seems to dwell,
And, as thou seem'st his radiance to absorb,
Proclaim thyself the garden's sentinel.
This notion is, no doubt, derived from the classic
legend of the nymph Clytia, who was beloved by
Helios. When, however, he transferred his affec-
tions to Leucothoe the daughter of King Orchamus,
198 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
the jealous Clytia communicated the affair to the
father, who cruelly put his daughter to death.
Helios was so indignant at the conduct of Clytia,
that he could not forgive her, and wholly withdrew
his affections. Overwhelmed with grief, she threw
herself on the ground, and there lay for nine days and
nights without taking any sustenance, and her eyes
fixed on the sun, the type of her lover. At length,
the gods, moved with compassion by her sorrow and
contrition, transformed her into a Sunflower, which
was believed constantly to turn its face towards the
sun, as if to imbibe life and warmth from his rays.
In its native country, Peru and Mexico, the Sun-
flower is said to grow to the height of twenty feet or
more, and to produce flowers about two feet in dia-
meter. Gerard, the first English writer who notices
this plant, which he calls " The Flower of the Sunne,
or the Marigolde of Peru," tells us that he had
grown it in his garden at Holborn to the height of
fourteen feet, and producing flowers that measured
sixteen inches over.
It has been ascertained that a single Sunflower
may produce upwards of two thousand seeds. These
seeds when pealed have a taste similar to that of
sweet almonds, and they are excellent food for fat-
tening domestic poultry. In the United States of
America, the Sunflower is cultivated on a large scale,
for the purpose of making from the seeds an oil that
is good-tasted, and fit for salads and all the purposes
for which olive-oil is used. Hence it is evident that
the Sunflower might with as much justice have been
made the emblem of true as of false riches.
200 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Tin: towering height of this majestic plant ren-
ders it an appropriate emblem of ambition. It is a
native of the East Indies, China, Siberia, and Africa.
From the French name, Rose de Damas, or Rose
d'Outremer, it is surmised that the Hollyhock was
first brought to Europe from Syria at the time of
We have few flowers that contribute more to the
embellishment of large gardens than the Hollyhock,
whose noble stems appear like so many banners
garnished with roses of every variety of colour, from
the palest blush to the deepest carmine, and from a
faint white, through every shade of yellow, to the
richest orange, from which the colour is carried on
to a dark chestnut. Others are dyed of a reddish
purple, deepening to black. These give gaiety to
the shrubbery till a late season of the year, throwing
out a succession of flowers till the arrival of frost.
Phillips, in his "Flora Historica," indulges in
the following pleasing speculation respecting this
flower : — " When the children of the lower classes
of society have become more civilized, and their
parents sufficiently enlightened to instruct them in
their duty, so that their amusement may not consist
in idly destroying what cannot benefit them, but
materially injures their more polished neighbours,
the Hollyhock will be planted in the hedges of our
fields, and the whole appearance of the country be
much improved by relieving the uniformity of the
generality of fences. Considerable benefit would
at the same time be received by those cottagers who
have the prudence to give attention to the hive ; since
the late season at which the Hollyhock flowers gives
the bees an opportunity to make a second season for
collecting their sweets."
From the nectaries of Hollyhocks
The humble bee, e'en till he faints, will sip.
It is now known that the Hollyhock may be em-
ployed for other economical purposes besides the
feeding of bees. It has been ascertained that good
strong cloth may be made from the fibrous bark of
202 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
its flower-stalks. In 1821, two hundred and eighty
acres of land, near Flint, in Wales, were planted
with the common Hollyhock for this manufacture :
in the process of which it was discovered that the
plant yields a fine blue dye, equal in beauty and
permanence to the best indigo.
MAIDEN HAIR. 203
Up to the present day, botanists have in vain
studied this plant, which seems to conceal from the
most searching examination the secret of its flowers
and seed, confiding to Zephyr alone the invisible
germs of its young family. That deity selects a
spot for the cradle of its offspring. Sometimes he
delights to form with its long tresses the dark veil
hung before some cavern, in which the solitary
Naiad has slept ever since the beginning of ages ;
at others, bearing them on his wings, he fixes them
like verdant stars on the top of the towers of some
old castle, or, disposing them in light festoons, he
adorns with them the cool and shady spots which
the herdsman loves. Thus this species of fern, which
baffles the researches of Science, and conceals its
origin from the most piercing eyes, does not with-
hold its benefits from those who solicit them.
204 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
MY BEST DAYS ARE PAST.
When the leaves begin to fall from the trees, a
flower resembling the crocus springs up amidst the
grass of the damp meadows : but, instead of being,
like a crocus, the harbinger of joy and hope, it pro-
claims to all Nature that the bright days of summer
are over. This flower is the Meadow Saffron, or
Colchicum autumnalc, supposed to be so named
from Colchis, in Asia, where it is said to grow in
According to fabulous history, this autumnal
flower owes its origin to some drops of the magic
liquor, prepared by Medea to restore the aged ^Eson
to the bloom and vigor of youth, which were spilt
in the fields.
The foaming juices now the brink o'erswell :
The barren heath, where'er the liquor fell
Sprang out with vernal grass, and all the pride
Of blooming May.
MEADOW SAFFRON. 205
In such a night
Medea gathered the enchanted herbs
That did renew old iEson.
It had been suggested also that, as Medea is
sometimes called Colchis, it was this plant that
relieved ^Eson from his infirmities. Hence it came
to be considered as a preservative against all sorts of
diseases. The Swiss hang it round their children's
necks, and imagine them to be thenceforth exempt
from every kind of ailment.
Most superstitious notions, however, ridiculous as
they may now appear, originated in the first in-
stance in some reasonable opinion. Could we
divest the tales of antiquity of their fabulous dress,
we should probably find them all explanatory of
real events. In this case, wc should perhaps disco-
ver that Medea, having relieved ^Eson from a fit of
the gout, his subjects celebrated her praise for
having restored their sovereign to youthful spright-
liness. This interpretation is rendered the more
plausible by the late discovery of the powerful
efficacy of the Colchicum, not only in gout and
rheumatic affections of the joints, but also in most
inflammatory disorders. In many cases, however,
206 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
it has produced injurious effects ; so that, as a medi-
cine, it ought not to be administered but by the
most cautious practitioners ; for the Colchicum is
undoubtedly a poisonous root, and its deleterious
effects are to be dreaded until the precise dose
is accurately ascertained.
The poisonous quality of this plant seems to be
known as it were by instinct to all kinds of cattle.
They all shun it, and it is no uncommon thing to
see it standing alone in pastures, where every other
kind of herbage has been eaten down, without a
leaf of this plant being touched.
The Meadow Saffron cannot but interest the
botanist on account of the singular phenomena
which it exhibits. Its corolla, six-cleft, of a violet
colour, has neither leaves nor stem : a long tube,
white as ivory, which is but a prolongation of the
flower, is its sole support. At the bottom of this
tube Nature has placed the seed, which is not
destined to ripen before the following spring. The
seed-vessel which encloses it is buried in the turf
during the winter ; but, on the return of spring, it
rises from the ground, waving in the sunshine,
surrounded by a tuft of broad leaves of the brightest
green. The seeds ripen in May. Thus this plant,
MEADOW SAFFRON. 207
reversing the accustomed order of the seasons,
mingles its fruit with the flowers of spring, and
its flowers with the fruits of autumn.
Then bright from earth, amid the troubled sky,
Ascends fair Colchicum, with radiant eye,
Warms the cold bosom of the hoary year,
And lights with beauty's blaze the dusky sphere.
208 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
JUSTICE SHALL BE DONE TO YOU.
Although this plant is a native of Italy, it re-
mained unknown until the present century, when
M. Villan, a skilful botanist of Grenoble, was at-
tracted by its delightful fragrance at the foot of
Mount Pilatus, in Switzerland, whence he brought
it to perfume the winter gardens of our continental
neighbors. It cast its first odour on the British
shore in 1806, and it has become so far naturalized
to our climate as to discharge its fragrance over our
walks in winter, as freely as the mignonette of Egypt
does in summer.
Thus genius, hidden beneath a modest exterior, is
not discerned by the vulgar ; but if it once meets
the eye of an enlightened judge, its powers are re-
vealed, and it commands the admiration of those
who, with stupid indifference, perceived in it nothing
extraordinary. A young miller in Holland having
a taste for painting, exerci&ed it at leisure hours in
portraying the scenery amidst which he lived. His
SWEET-SCENTED TUSSILAGE. 209
master's mill and cattle, an admirable verdure, the
effects of the sky, clouds, vapour, light and shade,
were transferred- with exquisite truth to the canvas
by his untutored pencil. No sooner had he finished
one picture than he carried it to the colourman and
exchanged it for materials to paint another. It hap-
pened that the innkeeper of the place, expecting
company at his house, wished to decorate the apart-
ment destined for their reception, and bought two of
the pictures for that purpose. An eminent painter*
chancing to stop at the inn, admired the truth of
these landscapes, offered one hundred florins for
what had cost but a crown, and, on paying for them,
promised to take all the works of the young miller
at the same price. Thus was the reputation of the
latter established and his fortune made. In his pros-
perity, he never forgot his dear mill, the figure of
which is to be found in all his pictures, which are
so many master-pieces. Who would imagine that
plants, like men, need a patron in order that their
merits may be duly appreciated !
210 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Madame de Stael was always angry whenever
any of her acquaintance attempted to introduce a
stupid person into her company. One day, one of
her friends ventured, nevertheless, to bring to her a
young Swiss officer of the most prepossessing ex-
terior. The lady, pleased with his appearance, was
very lively, and said a thousand flattering things to
the new-comer, who seemed at first to be struck
mute by surprise and admiration. When, however,
he had listened to her above an hour without open-
ing his lips, she began to suspect the cause of his
silence, and put to him such direct questions that he
could not help answering. Alas, for the visiter !
his answers were extremely silly ! Madame de
Stael, vexed at having thrown away her time and
her wit, turned to her friend and said : " Indeed, sir,
you are like my gardener, who thought to do me a
SCARLET GERANIUM. 211
pleasure by bringing me this morning a pot of Ge-
ranium : but I can tell you that I made him take
back the flower ; desiring him not to let me see it
any more." " And why so 1" asked the young
man in astonishment. " It was, since you wish to
know, because the Geranium is a beautiful scarlet
flower; while you look at it, it pleases the eye ; but,
when you press it ever so slightly, it gives out a dis-
agreeable smell." With these words, Madame de
Stael rose and went out of the room, leaving, you
may be sure, the cheeks of the young fool as red as
his coat or the flower to which he had just been
Among the cultivated varieties of the Geranium,
there are, however, some which have a very agree-
able scent, and whose flowers exhibit many diver-
sities of colour. It is also found in a wild state
under the names of Crane's Bill and Herb Robert.
The following poetic tribute has been paid to it by
the latter appellation : —
I will not sing the mossy rose,
The jasmine sweet, or lily fair.
The tints the rich carnation shows,
The stock's sweet scent that fills the air.
212 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Full many a bard has sung their praise
In metres smooth, and polished line ;
A simple flower and humbler lays
May best befit a pen like mine.
There is a small but lovely flower,
With crimson star and calyx brown,
On pathway side, beneath the bower,
By Nature's hand profusely strown.
Inquire you when this flow'ret springs ?—
When Nature wakes to mirth and love.
When all her fragrance summer flings.
When latest autumn chills the grove.
Like the sweet bird whose name it bears,
'Midst falling leaves and fading flowers,
The passing traveller it cheers,
In shortened days and darksome hours.
And, should you ask me where it blows,
I answer, on the mountain's bare,
High on the tufted rock it grows,
In lonely glens or meadows fair.
It blooms amidst those flowery dales
Where winding Aire pursues its course;
It smiles upon the craggy fells
That rise around its lofty source.
SCARLET GERANIUM. 213
There are its rosy petals shown,
'Midst curious forms and mosses rare,
Imbedded in the dark gray stone,
When not another flower is there.
Oh ! emblem of that steadfast mind,
Which, through the varying scenes of life,
By genuine piety refined,
Holds on its way 'midst noise and strife.
Though dark the impending tempest lour,
The path of duty it espies.
Calm 'midst the whirlwind and the shower,
Thankful when brishter hours arise.
Oh! could our darkened minds discern
In thy sweet form this lesson plain,
Could we it practically learn,
Herb Robert would not bloom in vain.
At Rome, the leaf of the Geranium is employed
in a favourite game or amusement, which is called
Far il Verde. The time chosen for it is the begin-
ning of spring, when the trees and the fields put on
their new liveries. A gentleman and lady then
agree upon a Verde, and determine the duration of
the game and the forfeits to be paid. Both parties
have now to take care that they are constantly pro-
214 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS,
vided, both at home and abroad, with a fresh Gera-
nium leaf. On meeting one another, the question
is Avede il Verde? succeeded by the challenge,
Fatte vadere il Verde, or Fatte il Verde. The
person so addressed must immediately show the
Geranium leaf, and, as a sign that it is fresh, rub it
against a wall or anything upon which it can leave
a mark. If it fails to make a green spot, or if the
party has left it at home, he must either pay the
specified penalty or pledge himself to do so. Thus,
too, this engagement gives each a right to enter
without ceremony the apartment of the other, to rub
his green leaf against the wall, and to put his play-
mate to the same test. The game generally lasts for
some weeks, and is more common among the higher
classes than the lower. It presupposes an intimate
acquaintance between the parties, or is designed to
produce one. An engagement of this kind, there-
fore, cannot well be concluded with an unmarried
lady without the consent of her parents, and, as it is
often a prelude to marriage, it is not decorous for a
single lady to offer the challenge. The penalties
are determined by the more or less intimate footing
upon which the parties stand ; in some cases they
are kisses, in others sweetmeats or sonnets. Some-
SCARLET GERANIUM. 215
times, the person who has most pledges to redeem
gives, at the conclusion of the game a ball or supper.
The progress of the game furnishes occasion for
many a sly trick ; one of the parties secretly stealing
the other's leaf, and then demanding proof that he
has it ; and sometimes also it is purposely dropped,
when the penalty to be paid is not too severe.
216 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The Cypress is an emblem of mourning.
According to Ovid, the Cypress derived its name
from Cyprissos, an especial friend of Apollo's, who,
in grief at having inadvertently killed a favourite
stag of his, prayed the gods that his mourning might
be made perpetual, and was changed into a Cypress
tree, the branches of which were thenceforth used at
Wherever these trees meet our view, their doleful
look excites melancholy ideas. Their tall pyra-
mids, pointed to the sky, moan when shaken by
the wind. The sun's ray cannot penetrate through
their gloom, and when his last beams throw their
long shadows upon the ground, you will almost
take them for dark phantoms. Sometimes the Cy-
press raises its head among the flowery tenants of
our shrubberies like those representations of death
which the Romans were accustomed to show to
their guests even amid the transports of boisterous
The ancients consecrated the Cypress to the
Fates, the Furies, and Pluto. They placed it near
tombs. The people of the East have retained
the same custom. Their cemeteries are not scenes
of desolation and neglect. Covered with trees and
flowers, they are places of public resort, which are
continually bringing together the living and the
dead. The favourite tree for burial-grounds is the
Cypress, which the Turks plant not only at the
head and foot, but also upon the graves of deceased
friends. Such, indeed, is their reverence for the
dead, that they frequent the cemeteries more than
the mosques themselves, for the purpose of prayer
and religious meditation. There are many pious
Mussulmans who do not suffer a day to pass without
praying at the grave of their parents, children, rela-
tives or friends. You may see at every hour of the
day and even of the night some person or other
either watering or planting fragrant shrubs and
flowers in these abodes of peace.
The common European evergreen Cypress is
218 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
a very long-lived tree, and attains to a great size.
According to Pliny, there were Cypress trees
growing in his time at Rome, which were more
ancient than the city itself. Bartholdy makes
mention of one at Misitra, which was thirty feet in
circumference. The American species, one of the
largest trees in the United States, is sometimes found
of the same girth, and seventy feet high : its branches
extend almost horizontally.
The wood of the Cypress is remarkable for its
durability. Many of the chests containing the
Egyptian mummies are of this material, affording
a decisive proof of its almost imperishable nature.
We are further assured that the gates of St
Paul's church at Rome, made of Cypress wood,
which had lasted from the time of Constnntine,
eleven hundred years, were as fresh as new when
Pope Eugenius IV. ordered gates of brass to be
erected in their stead.
MARVEL OF PERU. 219
MARVEL OF PERU.
This beautiful plant was first brought to Spain
from Peru, and received its name from the won-
derful diversity of colours in the flowers on the
Changing from the splendid rose
To the pale violet's dejected hue.
The French call it Belle de Wirit, because its flow-
ers, apparently too timid to expand, even to a
European meridian sun, open and give out their
fragrance at night only.
The Marvel of Peru retains its beauty for a great
length of time, being frequently covered with blos-
soms from the beginning of July to the end of October,
and the flowers are so numerous that the plants have
a most cheerful appearance, particularly towards
evening, as they rarely expand in warm weather
220 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
before the hour of four in the afternoon, on which
account it is sometimes called Four o'clock Flower.
But, when the weather is moderately cool and the
sun obscured, these shy blossoms remain open the
Philips remarks that, however these timid flowers
may appear in the presence of the god of day, they
stand the blaze of the strongest artificial light as
cheerfully as other belles who delight to shine at the
same hour with this emblem of timidity.
We cannot resist the temptation of quoting here
an exquisite little poem by Mrs. Hemans, on " Night-
scented Flowers," which originally appeared in the
Forget Me Not.
"Call back your odours, lovely flowers,
From the night-wind call them back ;
And fold your leaves till the laughing hours
Come forth in the sunbeam's track.
" The lark lies couched in the grass-y not,
And the honey-bee is gone ;
And all bright things are away to rest-
Why watch ye here alone ?"
" Nay, let our shadowy beauty bloom.
When the stars give quiet light ;
And let us offer our faint perfume
On the silent shrine' nf night.
MARVEL OF PERU. 221
1 Call it not wasted the scent we lend
To the breeze when no step is nigh :
Oh ! thus for ever the earth should send
Her grateful breath on high !
' And love us as emblems, night's dewy flowers,
Of hopes unto sorrows given,
That spring through the gloom of the darkest hours,
Looking alone to heaven.
222 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The ancients believed that the Oak, coeval with
the earth, afforded food and shelter to the first of
men. In the remotest antiquity, it was the symbol
of majesty and strength, and, as such, sacred to
Jupiter, whom it sheltered at his birth, on Mount
Lyces in Arcadia.
Among the Greeks, the Oak performed an im-
portant part in their religious ceremonies. The
oaks in the grove of Dodona in Epirus, near the
magnificent Temple of Jupiter, gave forth the oracles
which were there promulgated by the priestesses.
On the banks of the Achelous grew those Oaks
whose acorns were the first food of mortals. The
Dodonean Jupiter, the Fates, and Hecate, were
crowned with Oak-wreaths, and the heroes who
sailed in the Argo chose for the mast of that vessel
an Oak from the sacred grove of Dodona, which
continued to counsel the adventurers by oracular
intimations. As the oak was an object of such re-
verence, it is no wonder that the gods, who were
entertained by Philemon (See the Linden Tree),
conceived that they could not confer on him a more
suitable recompense than to transform him into
an Oak-tree, that was to overshadow the temple of
Jupiter, into which his hut was changed. Hence
this tree became the emblem of hospitality.
Among the Romans, various kinds of crowns
were given as rewards of military achievements.
The most honourable of these, a wreath of green
Oak, called the civic crown, was allotted to him
who had saved the life of a Roman citizen in
battle. It was also decreed to Cicero for detecting
Cataline's conspiracy. Scipio Africanus refused
the civic crown for saving the life of his father at
the battle of Trebia, on the ground that the act
carried with it its own reward. The possessor of
such a crown had a right to wear it constantly ;
when he entered an assembly, all present, senators
themselves not excepted were obliged to rise ; and
he was exempt from every kind of civil burdens and
Divine honours were paid to the Oak by the
ancient Germans and Celts, who worshipped under
224 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
its form their god Teut. Their priests, the Druids,
offered sacrifices beneath it; their victims were
crowned with Oak-leaves, and it was requisite that
the piles of wood on which they were burned should
be lighted with brands of Oak.
By modern Britain the Oak, as furnishing the
material of which our fleets are constructed, has
justly been adopted as the emblem of her naval
power — that power of which the first of our living
poets proudly says : —
Britannia needs no bulwark*,
No towers along the steep ;
Her march is on the mountain wave,
Her home is on the deep.
Though our dusky forests are no longer the
haunts of Hamadryads and fairies, still the aspect
of a majestic Oak excites admiration and awe.
When, in youthful vigour, it rears its proud head
and spreads its immense arms, it looks like a pro-
tector, like a king. Shattered by the thunderbolt,
stripped of its foliage, and motionless, it resembles
an old man who has lived past his time, and who
takes no interest in the pains and pleasures of the
present age. The stormy winds sometimes strive
for the mastery over this monarch of the forest : at
first he murmurs only, but soon a dull, deep, melan-
choly sound issues from his sturdy branches. You
listen and fancy that you hear an indistinct, myste-
rious voice speaking from the tree ; which furnishes
a clew to the ancient superstitions that prevailed
226 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The unfading nature of this flower has caused it
to be made the emblem of immortality. It is men-
tioned by Milton as forming the diadem of the
angels : —
With solemn adoration down they cast
Their crowns, inwove with amaranth and gold —
Immortal Amaranth, a flower which once
In Paradise, fast by the tree of life,
Began to bloom, but soon, for man's offence,
To heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows
And flowers aloft, shading the font of life,
And where the river of bliss, through midst of heaven
Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream ;
With these that never fade the spirits elect
Bind their resplendent locks, inwrealh'd with beams.
The Amaranth has also been placed among
funeral flowers. Homer describes the Thessalians
as wearing crowns of Amaranth at the funeral of
Sad Amaranthus, in whose purple gore
Meseems I see Amintas' wretched fate,
To whom sweet poets' verse hath given endless date.
Milton, too, in his Lycidas, blesses it among the
flowers " that sad embroidery wear ;"
Bid Amaranthus all his beauty shed,
And daffodillies fill their cups with tears,
To strew the laureate hearse where Lycid lies.
In modern times, the amaranth has given its
name to an order instituted by Queen Christina of
Sweden, in the year 1633, at an entertainment
given in honour of Don Antonio Pimental, the
Spanish Ambassador. On this occasion she ap-
peared in a dress covered with diamonds, attended
by a suite of sixteen nobles of her court and the
same number of ladies. At the conclusion of the
ball, she stripped herself of the diamonds and dis-
tributed them among the company, at the same time
presenting the new order of knighthood, consisting
of a ribbon and medal, with an Amaranth in
enamel, encircled with the motto : " Dolce nella me-
228 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
In the Floral games at Toulouse, the principal
prize was a golden Amaranth for the best lyric
The species of Amaranth called Tricolor, a native
of the East Indies, is admired on account of the
variegated colours of its leaves, resembling, as
Gerard tells us, the splendid feathers of a parrot,
with its stripes of red, yellow, white, green, &c.
The Amaranthus hypocondriachus, one of the
American species, is better known by the name of
Prince's Feather. The leaves of most of the species
of this plant are used in hot countries as culinary
vegetables ; but they are not equal to the spinach,
which they somewhat resemble.
Parsley was held in high repute by the Greeks.
At banquets they bound their brows with its slight
sprigs, and also adorned with them the graves of their
deceased relatives. In the Isthmian games at Rome
the victors were crowned with Parsley. It was
formerly imagined that this plant came originally
from Sardinia, because that Island is represented on
ancient medals as a female, beside whom is a vase
containing a bunch of Parsley ; but it is in fact a
native of all the damp and shady spots in Greece,
and even of the southern provinces of France.
From the beautiful green of this plant, it forms an
elegant decoration to the dishes which are garnished
with it. It adds a luxury to the poor man's soup-
kettle, and contributes to the elegance of the most
splendid dinners. A branch of laurel and a Parsley
230 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
crown are the attributes which would now-a-days
suit the god of banquets. These plants have been
employed for nobler purposes ; but, in the age of
gastronomy, it will not do to insist too strongly on
what was done in the heroic ages.
And welcome art thou, melancholy time,
That now surround'st my dwelling— with the sound
Of winds that rush in darkness— the sublime
Roar of drear woods.
No mark of vegetable life is seen.
No bird to bird repeats his tuneful call,
Save the dark leaves of some rude evergreen,
Save the lone redbreast on the moss-grown wall.
A wreath for merry Christmas quickly twine,
A wreath for the bright and sparkling wine.
Though roses are dead,
And their bloom is fled,
Yet for Christmas a bonnie bonnie wreath we'll twine,
Away to the wood where the bright holly grows,
And its red berries blush amid winter snows ;
Away to the ruin where the green ivy clings,
And around the dark fane its verdure flings ;
Hey for the ivy and holly so bright,
They are the garlands for Christmas night !
Louisa Anne Twamlev
232 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Winter comes on. The trees, after being strip-
ped of their fruit, have now lost their leaves. The
sun, as he recedes from us, throws dun or melan-
choly tints over the foliage. The poplar is covered
with a pale gold colour, while the acacia rolls up its
light folioles, which the sun's rays will no more ex-
pand : the birch droops its long hair, already de-
prived of ornaments ; and the fir, which is destined
to retain its green pyramid, waves it proudly in the
air. The Oak stands immoveable : he defies the
utmost efforts of the wind, which cannot strip his
stately head of its honours ; and it is only to Spring
that the monarch of the woods will yield his leaves
reddened by Winter.
All these trees might be supposed to be moved by
different passions ; one bows profoundly as if to pay
homage to its neighbor, whom the tempest cannot
bend ; another seems to be striving to embrace its
DEAD LEAVES. 233
companion, the supporter of its weakness, and, while
their branches are commingled, a third dashes about
in every direction, as if it were surrounded by ene-
mies. Respect, friendship, hate, anger, seem to be
alternately communicated by one to another. Thus
shaken by all the winds, and, as if agitated by all the
passions, they utter long moans, resembling the con-
fused murmurs of an alarmed people. There is no
predominant voice ; they are low, deep, monotonous
sounds, which throw the mind into a vague reverie.
Showers of dead leaves frequently fall upon the
ground, deprived of its verdure, and cover the earth
with a moving garment. The eye cannot help watch-
ing how the winds pursue, scatter, whirl, and drive
hither and thither these sad remains of a spring that
will never return.
234 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The Aloe is attached to the soil by very feeble
roots ; it delights to grow in the wilderness ; its taste
is extremely bitter. Thus grief detaches us from the
earth, separates us from the world, and fills our hearts
with bitterness. These plants live almost entirely
on air, and assume singular and grotesque shapes.
Le Vaillant found several species in great profusion
in the deserts of the Namaquas, in South Africa.
Some had leaves six feet long : they are thick and
armed with long spines : from the centre of these
leaves shoots up a slender stem as tall as a tree, and
covered with flowers. Others are marbled, and look
like snakes creeping upon the ground. Brydone
saw the ancient city of Syracuse overgrown with
large Aloes in blossom ; their elegant stems gave to
the promontory on which it stands the appearance of
an enchanted wood. These magnificent and mon-
strous plants have been given to barbarous Africa :
they grow upon rocks, in dry sand, amidst a burn-
ing atmosphere, breathed by lions and tigers. Let
us be thankful to a bounteous Nature, who in our
mild climate has every where raised bowers of ver-
dure over our heads, and spread carpets of daisies,
primroses, and violets, under our feet !
236 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Fhiexdship has sometimes chosen for its device
a fallen tree firmly embraced by the verdant arms of
the Ivy, with this motto : " Nothing can part us." .
In Greece the altar of Hymen was encircled with
Ivy, and a branch of it presented to the new-married
couple, as a symbol of the indissoluble knot. It
was sacred to Bacchus, who is represented crowned
with Ivy-leaves, as well as those of the vine. It
formed the crown of the Greek and Roman poets ;
and, in modern times, woman's love, constancy, and
dependence, have been expressed by it.
Ingratitude has been sometimes represented by
the Ivy strangling its supporting benefactor. This
calumny has been repelled by the author of the
" Studies of Nature," who regards it as the model of
pure friendship. u Nothing," says he, " can separate
it from the tree which it has once embraced: it
clothes it with its own leaves in that inclement
season when its dark boughs are covered with hoar-
frost. The faithful companion of its destiny, it falls
when the tree is cut down ; death itself does not
relax its grasp, and it continues to adorn with its
verdure the dry trunk which once supported it."
These ideas, equally refined and pathetic, have
the additional merit of truth. The Ivy is attached
to the earth by its own roots, and derives no nourish-
ment from the substances to which it clings. The
protector of ruins, it adorns the dilapidated walls
which it holds together : it will not accept every
kind of support, but its attachments end only with
238 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
I SUBMOUOT ALL DIFFICULTIES.
The Misletoe is a creeping plant, which grows on
the tops of the tallest trees. The proud oak is its
slave, and nourishes it with his own substance.
The Druids paid a kind of adoration to it as the
emblem of a weakness that was superior to
strength : they regarded the tyrant of the oak as
equally formidable to men and gods. This opinion
was founded on the following fable of their my-
One day, Balder told his mother Friga that he
dreamt he was dying. Friga charmed fire, metals,
diseases, water, and animals, that they might not
have power to harm her son ; and her spells were
so powerful that nothing could resist them, Balder,
therefore, mingled fearlessly in the battles of the
gods. Loke, his enemy, wished to ascertain how
it was that he always escaped unhurt. Assuming
the form of an old woman, he repaired to Friga.
" In battle," said he to her, " arrows, javelins, and
rocks, fall upon your son Balder, without doing
him any harm." — " I know it," said Friga ; " all
those things have sv r orn not to hurt him : there is
nothing in nature from which I have not obtained
the same promise, except a plant which seemed too
weak to do him any injury : it grows upon the
bark of the oak, and it if called Misletoe." Thus
spake Friga. Loke instantly went in quest of the
plant, and, returning to the assembled gods, who
were fighting with the invulnerable Balder, for their
sports are battles, he went up to the blind Heder.
" Why," said he, " dost not thou launch thy darts
against Balder V — "Alas!" replied Heder, "lam
blind, and I have no weapons." Loke gave him a
dart made of Misletoe, saying, " Balder is right
before thee." The blind Heder threw the dart,
which pierced Balder, who fell lifeless. Thus the
invulnerable son of a goddess was killed by a dart
made of Misletoe, thrown by a blind man. Such is
the origin of the respect paid by the Gauls to this
240 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader of
the important part still performed by the Misletoe
in our Christmas gambols.
Jean Jacques Rousseau, so long tormented by
his own passions, and persecuted by those of other
persons, soothed the later years of his life by the
study of nature : the Mosses in particular engaged
his attention. It is these, he would frequently say,
that give a look of youth and freshness to our fields ;
they embellish nature at the moment when the
flowers have left us, and when their withered stems
are mingled with the mould of our plains. In
fact, it is in winter that the Mosses offer to the
eye of the botanist their carpet of emerald green,
their secret nuptials, and the charming mysteries
of the urns and amphorse which enclose their
Like those friends whom neither adversity nor
ingratitude can alienate, the Mosses, banished from
cultivated lands, take possession of waste and sterile
242 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
spots, which they cover with their own substance,
and gradually change into a fertile soil : they spread
themselves over marshes, and soon transform them
into smiling plains. In winter, when no other
plants vegetate, they take up the hydrogen and the
carbon which vitiate the air we breathe, and give it
back to us charged with the oxygen which purifies
it. In summer they form, beneath overarching
trees, carpets on which the shepherd, the lover,
and the poet, alike delight to rest. The little birds
line with it the nests which they prepare for their
infant families, and the squirrel constructs with it
his circular dwelling. Nay, it may be asserted that
but for the Mosses part of our globe would be un-
At the extremity of the earth, the Laplanders
cover with Moss the subterranean abodes, where,
collected in families, they defy the longest and se-
verest winters. Their numerous herds of reindeer
have no other food, yet they supply their owners
with delicious milk, nutritious flesh, and warm
clothing ; thus combining for the poor Laplander all
the advantages that we derive from the cow, the
horse, and the sheep.
Thus Nature dispenses her bounty in the most
rigorous climates : she enwraps in Moss all that
vegetates and all that breathes, as in a vegetable
fleece, capable of preserving her less gifted children
from the effects of the intense cold, and keeping
them warm upon her maternal bosom.
244 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
I DIE IF NEGLECTED.
This pretty plant, which is the gift of Spain, is
the ornament of our shrubberies in winter, appearing
in full leaf and flower at a time when other plants
are stripped of theirs. Neither the scorching breath
of summer nor the cold blast of winter can despoil
it of its charms : at the same time assiduous care is
necessary to preserve it. The emblem of constant
and delicate friendship, it always seeks to please,
but dies if neglected.
CORNEL CHERRY-TREE. 245
The Cornel Cherry-tree grows no higher than
eighteen or twenty feet. It is of a very slow
growth, but lives for ages. It blossoms in spring,
but its bright scarlet berries are not ripe till
The Greeks consecrated this tree to Apollo, no
doubt because that god presided over the produc-
tions of the mind, which require much time and
reflection : — a charming emblem, intimating to
those who were desirous to cultivate letters, elo-
quence, and poetry, that, before they could earn the
laurel crown, they must long wear that of patience
After Romulus had marked out the bounds of
his rising city, he threw his javelin on the Mount
Palatine. The weapon, made of the wood of the
Cornel Cherry-tree, stuck fast in the ground,
246 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
took root, grew, threw out leaves and branches and
became a tree. This prodigy was considered as the
happy presage of the power and duration of the
The Greeks and the Romans consecrated Laurel
crowns to every species of glory. With these they
adorned the brows of warriors and poets, of orators
and philosophers, of vestals and emperors. This
beautiful shrub grows abundantly at Delphi, on the
banks of the river Peneus. There its aromatic and
evergreen branches shoot up to the height of the
loftiest trees ; and it is alleged that by means of
some secret virtue they avert lightning from the
spots which they adorn.
According to ancient fable, the fair Daphne was
the daughter of the river Peneus. Apollo fell in
love with her, but she, preferring virtue to the love
of the most eloquent of the gods, fled in order to
avoid the seducing magic of his words. Apollo
pursued, and was on the point of overtaking her,
when the nymph invoked her father and was
changed into a Laurel. The god, finding that it
248 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
was an insensible tree that he held clasped in his
arms, kissed its bright leaves. " Since thou canst
not be my spouse," said he, " thou shalt at least be
my tree. Thou shalt ever adorn my brow, my
lyre, and my quiver ; and, as golden locks always
cluster around my youthful head, so shalt thou
always retain thy bright, beautiful foliage." Thence-
forward the Laurel was sacred to Apollo.
The providence of Nature is most admirably
displayed in this beautiful evergreen tree, sometimes
rising to the height of twenty or thirty feet, with
shining prickly leaves and white flowers, which
grow in clusters round the branches, and are suc-
ceeded by berries of a bright scarlet colour, contain-
ing four very hard seeds. The leaves form a
grateful food to many animals : but Nature has
armed them, for self-defence against these depre-
dators, with sharp prickles : and it is curious to
observe that the thorny leaves grow only on the
lower part of the tree where they are most likely to
be destroyed ; and that those above, out of the
reach of cattle, invest themselves with smooth
leaves, as if conscious that there they are safe.
The Holly is an ornament to our woods, stripped
bare by winter : its berries serve for food to the
little birds that never leave us, and its foliage
250 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
affords them an hospitable shelter during the cold
season. Thus Nature by a kind forethought has
taken care to preserve the verdure of this handsome
tree all the year round and to arm it with thorns,
that it may furnish both food and protection to the
innocent creatures which resort to it for refuge. It
is a friend which her all-powerful hand raises up for
them against the time when all other reliance fails.
As, however, this is not a world of unmixed good,
it may be added that, from the bark of the common
Holly, when fermented and washed from the woody
fibres, is made the bird-lime that is used for catching
The Holly, with its scarlet berries, is the most
beautiful of the evergreens that have been used for
ages to adorn churches and houses at the joyful
season of Christmas :
Christinas, the joyous period of the year :
Now with bright Holly all the temples strow,
With laurel green and sacred mistletoe.
With holly and ivy,
So green and so gay,
We deck up our houses
As fresh as the day.
With bays and rosemary,
And laurels complete,
And every oue now
Is a king in conceit.
Poor Robin's Almanac, 1605.
252 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS,
There is in vegetables something that invites,
attracts, or repels us. The Yew is among all
nations the emblem of sorrow. Its barkless trunk,
its dark green foliage, with which its fruit, looking
like drops of blood, stands in harsh contrast — in
short, every thing about it warns the passenger to
keep aloof from its dangerous shade. Persons who
sleep under a Yew-tree are liable to be seized with
dizziness, heaviness, and violent head-ache. Its
sprays poison asses and horses, which eat them ; its
juice is pernicious to man ; but the fruit is harmless,
for children eat it without experiencing any ill
effects. It exhausts the soil which supports it, and
destroys all other plants that spring up beneath it.
By our ancestors the Yew was planted in burial-
grounds, where trees of this kind, of great age and
size, may occasionally be seen to this day. They
were not destined merely to overshadow the graves
of the dead, but, before the invention of fire-arms,
their wood was chiefly employed for making bows,
cross-bows, and arrows. The ancient Greeks used
it for the same purposes.
For a long time it served to adorn our gardens,
where it formed hedges clipped into the shape of
massive walls or tortured into fantastic figures ; but,
thanks to the improved taste in landscape-gardening
introduced during the last century, that barbarous
perversion of nature is quite exploded in this coun-
try, though it may yet be met with in the formal
gardens of Holland. There, it is not uncommon to
see the four corners of a perfect square ornamented
with Yews clipped into the form of vases, pyramids,
or prodigious balls.
The Greeks, who had more just ideas of the real
beauties of Nature, impressed, like ourselves, with
the melancholy aspect of this tree, invented the fable
of the unhappy Smilax, who, seeing that her love
was rejected by the young Crocus, was transformed
into a Yew. In their beautiful country, every plant
every tree, spoke to men of heroes, of gods, and of
love. Let us listen to their voices : to us, too, they
will talk of Providence, who, after bestowing a pro-
fusion of them for the supply of our wants, reserves
254 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
some for our pleasures, or as monitors for our gui-
dance. Some she gives to be the playthings of our
childhood, to form wreaths for us in youth, to afford
us delicious fruits and refreshing shade in every
period of life. Are we melancholy, the willow in-
vites us by soft murmurs ; are we disposed to love,
the myrtle offers us its flowers ; are we rich, the
horse-chestnut furnishes its superb umbrage ; are we
sorrowful, the Yew seems to say to us : "Be of good
cheer ; grief desolates the heart, as I desolate the soil
that supports me : it is as dangerous to man as my
shade is to the weary passenger !"
There was a time when men were not united by
any tie. Deaf to the voice of Nature, the mother
would snatch from her famished son the wild fruit
with which he was striving to appease the craving of
hunger. If calamity reconciled them for a moment,
all at once the sight of an oak loaded with acorns, or
a beech-tree covered with mast, made them as bitter
enemies as ever. The earth was then a scene of
misery. There was neither law, religion, nor lan-
guage. Man knew not his high prerogatives ; his
reason was not yet awakened ; and frequently he
proved himself more cruel than the ferocious beasts,
whose fearful howlings he imitated.
The gods at length took pity on men. Apollo
and Mercury made presents to each other, and de-
scended to the earth. The god of harmony received
256 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
from the son of Maia the shell of a tortoise, out of
which he had constructed a lyre, and gave him in
exchange a Hazel stick, which had the power of im-
parting a love of virtue and of reconciling hearts
divided by envy and hate. Thus equipped, the two
sons of Jupiter sought the abodes of mortals. Apollo
first sang the eternal wisdom which created the uni-
verse ; he told how the elements were produced,
how love unites all the parts of nature in one general
bond, and, lastly, how men ought to appease by
prayer the wrath of the gods. At his voice animo-
sities were suspended, and revenge was banished
from every heart. Mercury then touched men with
the rod which Apollo had given to him. He loosed
their tongues, and 1 aught them to express their
thoughts in words. He then explained to them that
union constitutes strength, and that, without mu-
tually assisting each other, they could not render the
earth productive. Awakened by his exhortations,
filial piety and love of country sprang forth to unite
mankind, and he made commerce the general bond
of the world. His last thought was the most sub-
lime, for it was devoted to the gods : he taught men
to resemble them in universal love and beneficence.
Adorned with two light wings, and entwined with
serpents, the Hazel rod given to the god of eloquence
by the god of harmony is still, by the name of cadu-
ceus, the emblem of peace, commerce, and reconci-
258 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The ancients consecrated this shrub to the Furies.
The smoke of its green roots was the incense which
they offered in preference to the infernal gods ; and
they burned its berries during funerals to ban malign
influences. In some parts of the Continent, the
simple villager still believes that the perfume of Juni-
per berries purines the air, and drives evil spirits
from his humble cot.
The Juniper, which sometimes clothes itself in a
golden yellow livery, rarely thrives under cultiva-
tion : when left at liberty, it loves to grow on the
margin of woods. Weak and timorous animals fre-
quently seek refuge under its long branches, which
droop to the ground. The hare, when hard pressed,
repairs to it, and squats with confidence beneath its
sprays, the strong scent of which frequently sets the
dogs at fault. Often, too, the thrush entrusts to it
her young brood, and feeds upon its fruit : while the
entomologist comes to study, around its branches
bristling with spikes, a thousand resplendent insects,
which have no other defence, and seem conscious
that this shrub is destined to protect their weakness.
260 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
The annexed plate furnishes an example of the
facility with which the principles laid down in the
preceding pages may be reduced to practice. The
subject is taken from the following song, by a
French poet, the Chevalier Parney :
Aimer est un plaisir charmant,
C'est un bonheur qui nous enivre,
Et qui produit l'enchantement,
Avoir aime, c'est ne plus vivre ;
, • . Helas ! c'est avoir achete
Cette accablante verite,
Que les sermens sont un mensonge,
Que l'amour trompe tot ou tard,
Que l'innocence n'esl qu'un art,
Et que le bonheur n'est qu'un songe.
It may be thus rendered :
" To love is a pleasure, a happiness, which in-
toxicates : to love no longer is to live no longer ;
it is to have bought this sad truth, that innocence is
falsehood, that love is an art, and that happiness is a
A /f/ '' ' :: '< "■"'«"/< <,,:,/. //,:,/,./„„ fataA
THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS,
THE ORIGIN OF THEIR SIGNIFICATIONS.
Absence, Wormwood. Absence, according to La
Fontaine, is the worst of evils : Wormwood is
the bitterest of plants. Its name, derived from
the Greek, signifies without sweetness.
Accommodating Disposition, Valerian. Page 131.
Activity, Thyme. Page 99.
Affection, Generous and Devoted, Honeysuckle.
262 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
After-thought, China Aster. Page 187. The
Aster begins to blow when other flowers are
scarce. It is like an after-thought of Flora's who
smiles at leaving us.
Agitation, shaking Sainfoin. It has been re-
marked that the terminating leaflet of this plant is
motionless, while the two others, which are much
smaller, shake incessantly during t«he day. This
motion is one of the most singular phenomena of
botany. It was first observed in Bengal by Lady
Ambition, Hollyhock. Page 200.
Amiableness, Jasmine. Page 133.
Ardour, Broom. It is said that the spadix of the
plants of this family, of which there are more
than fifty species, acquires so strong a heat as to
be painful to the hand when touched by it. This
surprising fact is attested by several naturalists,
and among others by Bory de Saint Vincent,
Artifice, Clematis. Beggars, in order to excite
pity, make false ulcers on their flesh by means of
the Clematis. This infamous artifice often pro-
duces in the end a real sore.
Arts, The, Acanthus. Page 102.
Attachment, Devoted. Peruvian Heliotrope. Page
Beauty, Capricious, Musk Rose. The small flow-
ers of the Musk rose would be insignificant, if
they did not grow in clusters of from twenty to
one hundred and more. Their delicate musky
scent is very agreeable. This plant, however, is
extremely capricious : all at once it will languish,
in situations which at first appeared the most
favourable for it ; and one year it will be loaded
with flowers, while the next perhaps it will have
none at all.
Ever Netv. The Monthly Rose, which
flowers all the year.
Fleeting; Withered Rose. When we con-
template a withered Rose, and reflect that only
a few hours since it was revelling in all the pride
of beauty, we cannot but regard it as an appro-
priate emblem of the fleeting nature of personal
charms ; for, brilliant as they may be, how quickly
do they fade ! Still, the withered Rose, which,
though in decay, retains its fragrance, may teach
us that, even when beauty has fled, we may yet,
like it, have it in our power to please.
Lasting, Stock. Page 150.
264 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Beloved Daughter, Cinquefoil. In wet weather
the leaves of this plant contract and bend over
the flower, forming, as it were, a little tent to
cover it — an apt emblem of an affectionate mother
engaged in protecting a beloved child.
Beneficence, Mallow. Page 145. The Potato,
the peculiar vegetable of the poor, is also regarded
as an emblem of beneficence. This root, lasting
but for a year, escapes the monopoly of trade.
Modest as true charity, the potato hides its trea-
sures : it bestows them on the rich, and feeds
the poor with them. America presented us with
this useful vegetable, which has for ever banished
from Europe one of the direst calamities —
Beware of Excess, Saffron. — A weak infusion of
Saffron cheers the spirits, but those who drink
too much of this liquor go mad. It is the same
with its odour : if you smell to it slightly, it re-
freshes ; if to excess, it kills.
Black7iess, Ebony-tree. Pluto, the sovereign of
the infernal regions, was seated on a throne of
Ebony. It is said of a wicked man — he has a
heart as black as Ebony. This saying no doubt
originated in this circumstance, that while the
alburnum of the Ebony-tree is white, its foliage
soft and silvery, and its flowers brilliant and beau-
tiful, the heart alone is really black.
Bluntness, Borage. The leaves of Borage are
prickly, hairy, and wrinkled ; but the whole of
the plant is wholesome. Its good qualities make
us endure and even forget its rough appearance,
which reminds us that bluntness is frequently
accompanied by a good heart.
Boldness, Larch. This tree grows upon the loftiest
mountains, where it attains a prodigious height.
In the North, it is often covered with a species of
lichen, which envelopes it as with a thick fur.
The rustics amuse themselves with setting fire to
this singular clothing : it catches freely, and a
light flame suddenly shoots up to the sky, spark-
ling and going out in a moment. You would
imagine that these beautiful trees had been
placed in those situations for the express purpose
of exhibiting to the desert the astonishing spec-
tacle of the most magnificent fire-works.
Calm Repose, Buck-bean. Page 101.
Calumny, Madder. Madder stains red. When
266 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
sheep have browsed this plant, their teeth look as
if they were stained by the blood of some victim.
Thus wickedness frequently takes advantage of
deceitful appearances to calumniate innocence.
Candour, White Violet. Candour precedes Mo-
desty : it is a Violet still clothed in the colour of
Chastity, Sensitive Plant. Page 176.
, Orange-flower. It is customary in some
countries for brides to wear a wreath of Orange-
flowers ; and it is still usual in the neighbourhood
of Paris to deny this ornament on their wedding-
day to females who have not preserved their
Child-birth, Dittany. When Juno presided at the
birth of children, by the name of Lucina, she
wore a crown of Dittany. The pleasing smell of
this shrub, and the medicinal properties for which
it was so famous among the ancients, cause it to
be still held in esteem. It is a native of the
island of Crete.
Childhood, Primrose. Page 39.
Confidence, Liverwort, or Hepatica. When the
gardeners see th"e pretty flowers of the Hepatica,
they say : " The earth is in love ; we may sow
Consolation, Poppy, Page 167.
, Wild Poppy. The Wild Poppy con-
tains in its scarlet bosom an invaluable soother of
pain and sorrow. The ancients, who regarded
sleep as the healer of all woes, the great com-
forter of the world, gave him for his only orna-
ment a wreath of Poppies.
Constancy, Canterbury Bell. The stems of this
plant frequently shoot up to the height of three
or four feet, and are covered from bottom to top
with large beautiful flowers, that open in July,
and retain all their splendour till October. The
colour of these blue bell-shaped flowers is that of
Coquetry, Desire to Please, Mezeron. Page 38.
, Yellow Day Lily. Page 175.
Courage, Black Poplar. This tree was consecrated
Cmelty, Nettle. The sting of the Nettle causes a
pain like that from a burn. On examining the
leaves of the Nettle, with a microscope, you are
surprised to see them covered with stiff, articu-
lated, sharp-pointed bristles, which are so many
268 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
conductors to a sharp burning liquid, enclosed in
a bladder at the bottom of each. These hairs
and bladders are exactly like the stings of bees.
In the insect as in the plant, it is the sharp
humour that causes the pain.
Cure, Balm of Gilead. This exquisite balm, so
justly esteemed by the ancients, seems to have
been provided by Nature to soothe pain ; thus we
often use the word balm in a moral and figurative
sense, to express any thing that allays and miti-
gates sorrow. Beneficent virtue and affectionate
friendship are true balms, which heal the wounds
of the heart, a thousand times more painful than
any physical evils.
Curiosity, Sycamore. This tree is mentioned but
once historically, and that is in the Bible. Zac-
cheus the publican mingled with the crowd on
the day of our Saviour's triumphal entry into
Jerusalem, and, in order to obtain a better view of
the Messiah, he climbed up into a Sycamore-tree
which has thence been made the emblem of
Dangerous Pleasures, Tuberose. Page 190.
Deceitful Charms, Thorn Apple. Page 159.
Delicacy, Corn-bottle. The beautiful blue of this
flower, which is like that of a cloudless sky, is
the emblem of a tender and delicate affection
nourished by hope.
Desire, Jonquil. The Jonquil, which came to us
from Constantinople, is with the Turks the em-
blem of desire.
Despair, Marigold and Cypress. Cypress is the
emblem of death ; the Marigold of sorrow. The
combination of the two expresses despair.
Dignity, Clove-tree. The aromatic Clove-tree is a
native of the Molucca Islands. The people of
those islands wear its flowers, which we call
Cloves as a mark of distinction.
Discretion, Maiden Hair. Page 203.
Disdain, Yellow Pink. As haughty people are in
general unaccommodating and unamiable, so of
all the pink tribe the yellow is the least beautiful,
the least fragrant, and yet requires the most care.
Docility, Rush. It is a proverbial saying, as supple
as a Rush.
Do Me Justice, Chestnut-tree. Chestnuts are en-
closed, two, three, or four, together, in one green
husk, armed with numerous spikes. Those who
270 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
are not acquainted with the tree disregard the
fruit on account of its rough appearance.
Durability, Cornel cherry tree. Page 245.
Elegance, Rose Acacia. The art of the toilet can-
not produce any thing fresher or more elegant
than the attire of this pretty shrub. Its drooping
branches, its gay green, its beautiful bunches of
pink flowers, resembling bows of ribands, all give
it the appearance of a fashionable female in her
Elevation, Fir-tree. The Fir delights in cold
regions, and grows there to a prodigious height.
Eloquence, Lotus. The Egyptians consecrated the
flowers of the Lotus to the sun, the god of elo-
quence. This flower closes and sinks into the
water at sun-set, rising from it and opening again
as soon as the brilliant luminary reappears above
the horizon. It constitutes one of the ornaments
of the head of Osiris. The Indian gods are
frequently represented floating on the water upon
a Lotus flower : perhaps an emblem of the earth
issuing from the bosom of the deep.
Enchantment, Vervain. Page 142.
Envy, Bramble. The Bramble, like envy, creeps
and strives to stifle every thing that comes near
Error, Bee Orchis. The flowers of this plant so
nearly resemble a small humble-bee in shape and
colour that they might easily be mistaken for that
Esteem, Sage. The common garden Sage has ever
been held in great esteem by all domestic practi -
tioners for its medical virtues. By the ancients it
was supposed to possess the virtue of prolonging
life : hence a line in one of their poets, which
signifies : " How can a man die in whose garden
there grows Sage 1"
Faith, Passion Flower. In the Passion Flower you
find a representation of the crown of thorns, the
scourge, the cross, the sponge, the nails, and the
five wounds of Christ ; whence its name.
Falsehood, Bugloss. Page 82.
, Manchineel-tree. The fruit of the Man-
chineel-tree resembles an apple. This deceitful
appearance, together with an agreeable smell, in-
vites you to eat it : but its soft and spongy sub-
stance contains a milky and perfidious juice,
which at first appears insipid, but soon becomes
272 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
so caustic as to burn at once the lips, the
and the tongue. All travellers agree in stating
that the best remedy for so violent a poison is
sea-water. Luckily it is always at hand, as the
tree grows invariably on the sea-shore.
False Riches, Sun-flower. Page 235.
Festivity, Parsley. Page 229.
Fidelity, Speedwell, or Veronica, formed ixomvera-
icen, a compound of Latin and Greek, signifying
true image. This derivation, illiterate and bar-
barous as it is, has the sanction of the supersti-
tious legend of St. Veronica, whose handkerchief
is recorded to have received the impression of our
Saviour's face, as he used it in bearing his cross
to the place of crucifixion.
Fidelity in JWisfortune, Wallflower. Page 59.
Finesse, Sweet-william. This plant, with its large
brilliant bunches of blossoms, displays in all its
parts exquisite beauty and delicacy.
Fire, Fiaxinella. When the day has been hot and
dry, the Dittany emits an inflammable gas, which,
being condensed by the cool evening air, forms
around it an atmosphere that takes fire at the ap-
proach of a light, without injuring the plant.
Flame, Flower-de-Luce. The Flower-de-Luce, or
Iris Germanica, is a plant which the peasants of
Germany are fond of cultivating on the roofs of
their cottages. When the wind waves its beauti-
ful flowers, and the sun gilds their petals, tinged
with gold, purple, and azure, it looks as if light
flames were playing on the top of those rustic
Flattery, Venus's Looking-glass. As soon as the
sun sheds his golden rays upon our corn-fields, we
see the bright purple flowers of a pretty variety
of campanula scattered over them: but, should
clouds intercept his beams, the corollas of
these flowers immediately close, as at the ap-
proach of night. It is related that Venus one day
dropped one of her mirrors. A shepherd picked
it up ; but, no sooner had he cast his eyes on this
glass, which possessed the property of embellish-
ing whatever it reflected, than he forgot his mis-
tress, and did nothing but admire himself. Love,
fearful of the consequences of such a silly error,
broke the mirror, and changed its fragments into
this pretty plant, which has ever since retained
the name of Venus's Looking-glass.
Folly, Columbine. This graceful flower has been
274 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
made the emblem of folly, but whether on account
of the party-colour which it frequently takes in
the garden, or in allusion to the shape of the nec-
tary, which turns over, like the caps of the old
jesters, or those which painters give to Folly, we
are left to divine.
Foresight, Holly. Page 249.
Forgetf ulness, Moonwort. This plant has not re-
ceived its name from its seed, as it has been gene-
rally supposed, but from the partition which di-
vides its broad, flat pods, and is round like the
moon. Rene, duke of Bar and Lorraine, having
been taken prisoner at the battle of Toulongeon,
painted, with his own hand, a sprig of Moonwort,
and sent it to his vassals, to reproach them for
their dilatoriness in effecting his deliverance.
Forget-me-not, Scorpion Grass. Page 183.
Forsaken, Anemone. Anemone was a nymph,
beloved by Zephyr. Flora, jealous of her, banish-
ed her from her court, and transformed her into a
flower, that blows before the return of spring.
Zephyr has abandoned this unhappy beauty to the
rude caresses of Boreas, who, unable to gain her
love, harshly shakes her, half opens her blossoms,
and causes her immediately to fade. An Ane-
mone, with these words, Brevis est usus — " Her
reign is short" — is admirably expressive of the
transitory nature of beauty.
Friendship, Acacia. Page 157.
Ivy. Page 236.
Frivolity, London Pride. Though Nature has not
painted any flower with more delicacy than the
spotted petals of this plant, whence it received the
name of None-so-pretty : still it is considered as
the emblem of a light and frivolous sentiment ;
so that a lover would think it an insult to his
mistress to offer her a nosegay in which it was
Frivolous Amusement, Bladder-nut. The fruit of
the Bladder-nut tree, when pressed between the
fingers, bursts with a report. Idle persons some-
times indulge, as well as little boys, in the frivo-
lous amusement of producing this noise.
Frugality, Chicory. Horace has celebrated the
frugality of his repasts, composed of Mallows and
Gallantry, A Nosegay. The attentions of gallantry
cannot be better expressed than by a Nosegay.
270 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Such a present may be of little intrinsic value,
but it is always a proof of amiable and delicate
Game, Play, Hyacinth. This flower, so celebrated
in the songs of the poets, from the time of Homer
to the present day, is made hieroglyphical of play,
because a youth named Hyacinthus was killed,
while playing with Apollo, by a quoit, which the
jealous Zephyr blew upon him. Apollo, unable
to recal his favourite to life, changed him into
the flower which bears his name.
Generosity, Orange-tree. The Orange-tree is covered
at one and the same time with flowers, fruit, and
foliage. It is a generous friend, which is con-
tinually lavishing kindness upon us.
Genius, Plane-tree. The Portico at Athens was
surrounded by long avenues of majestic Plane-
trees. The Greeks paid a kind of worship to
those beautiful trees, and consecrated them to
genius and intellectual pleasures.
Girl, JRosebud. A young girl is a rose still in
Glory, Laurel. Page 247.
Good Education, Cherry-tree. It is generally be-
lieved that the Cherry-tree was brought from
Cerasonte, a town in the kingdom of Pontus, to
Rome, by Lucullus. It is not the less true, how-
ever, that our woods have always produced several
species of wild cherry, which require nothing
but careful cultivation to change their harsh, sour
berries into that delicious fruit which is an orna-
ment to our gardens and our desserts, and a
favourite with young and old.
Grace, Hundred-leaved Rose. When the Graces
accompany Venus, and the Loves, they are
crowned with myrtle ; when they attend the
Muses, they are represented as adorned with
wreaths of the Hundred-leaved Rose.
Grandeur, Ash-tree. In the Edda.. the gods are
said to hold their court under a miraculous Ash-
tvee, which covers the surface of the whole world
with its branches. The top of this tree reaches
the sky ; its roots penetrate to hell. From the
latter issue two springs ; in one of which wisdom
is hidden, and in the other is contained the know-
ledge of futurity.
Grief, Marigold. Page 153.
, Aloe. Page 234.
Happiness, Sweet Sultan. In the harems of the
278 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
East, this lusciously sweet flower is an emblem
of supreme happiness.
, Return of, Lily of the Valley. Page
Hate, Basil. Poverty is sometimes represented by
the figure of a female covered with rags, seated
by a plant of Basil. It is common to say that
Hate has the eye of a basilisk, a fabulous animal,
which is supposed to kill with a single glance.
The name of Basil, however, is derived from a
Greek word, signifying royal, a term indicating
the excellence of this fragrant plant.
Heart -unacquainted ivith Love. White Rosebud.
Before the breath of Love had animated the
world, all roses were white and all female hearts
Hermitage, Milkwort. This pretty plant, which
grows to the height of a foot, never loses its leaves,
which resemble those of box. The hermits, who
formerly dwelt on elevated places, planted it
around their habitations. The ancients regarded
this plant as favourable to cattle, and thought
that it caused them to yield a great deal of milk,
as is expressed by its Greek name, Polygala.
Hidden, Merit, Coriander. Fresh Coriander has
an intolerable smell, as its Greek name, Koris, a
bug, implies : yet its aromatic seeds are in request
with cooks and confectioners, who often use it to
flavour pastry and made dishes.
Hope, Snowdrop. Page 36.
, Hawthorn. Page 67.
Horror, Virginia Cactus. This plant throws out in
every direction its trailing shoots, which resemble
clusters of snakes.
Hospitality, Oak-tree. Page 222.
Humility, Broom. Page 109.
/ attach myself to you, Ipomaea, Indian Jasmine.
The scarlet Ipomasa requires a supporter for its
slender branches, and without fatiguing that
supporter, it wreaths it with foliage and flowers.
/ declare tvar against you, Wild Tansey. This
plant resembles the pyramidal cypress. In some
parts of Italy, people present stalks of it to those
whom they mean to insult.
I die if neglected, Laurustinus. Page 244.
I feel your kmdness, Flax. We are under so many
obligations to Flax, that we cannot open our
280 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
eyes without being deeply sensible of them. We
are indebted to it for linen cloth, paper and
Hove you, Peruvian Heliotrope. Page 192.
J shall not survive you, Black Mulberry-tree. Every
body knows the affecting story of Pyramus and
Thisbe. Pyramus, in the belief that his beloved
Thisbe had been devoured by a furious lioness,
killed himself in despair. Thisbe, who had fled
affrighted from their place of meeting, returned
just in time to see her lover expire. She could
not survive him, and the same dagger united the
lovers in death.
J share your sentiments, The Garden Daisy. It
appears that it is very long since cultivation
doubled the pretty field Daisy. When the mis-
tress of a knight permitted him to have this
flower engraven on his arm, it was a public
avowal that she returned his love.
/ surmount all difficulties, Misletoe. Page 238.
I will think of it, Wild Daisy. In the times of
chivalry, when a lady would neither reject nor
accept the suit of her lover, she adorned her
brow with a wreath of Wild Daisies, which
intimated : / will lliink of it.
Immortality, Amaranth. Page 226. The name of
this flower is composed of two Greek words,
which signify never-fading.
Impatience, Balsam. The seed-vessel of this plant
contains five cells. When maturity approaches,
each of these divisions curls up at the slightest
touch, and scatters its seeds to a distance by a
spontaneous movement. Hence its English ap-
pellation — Touch-me-not.
Importunity, Burdock. Burdock takes possession
of a good soil, from which it is very difficult to
extirpate it. Everybody is acquainted with its
burs, which fasten on one's clothes in such a
Inconstancy, Large-flowered Evening Primrose.
A native of Virginia, which, notwithstanding its
inconstancy, has been favourably received in our
Independence, Wild Plum-tree. The wild Plum is
the least tractable of our native trees. It will not
bear the knife, neither can it be transplanted.
Indiscretion, Bulrush. King Midas, having pre-
ferred the singing of Marsyas, the satyr, to that of
Apollo, the god clapped upon him a pair of ass's
282 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
cars. The king's barber saw them, and, unable
to keep the secret, buried it at the foot of a cluster
of Bulrushes. These reeds, shaken by the wind,
continually murmured, King Midas has ass's
Infidelity, Yellow Rose. It is well known that
yellow is the colour of false as well as of jealous
people. The Yellow Rose seems also to be their
flower. Injured by wet, scorched by the sun, this
scentless rose, which profits neither by attention
nor liberty, seems to thrive only under restraint.
When you would see it in perfection, you must
bend down its buds towards the ground, and
keep ihem by force in that position.
Ingenuity, Pencilled-leaf Geranium. When we
compare the works of God with those of man,
how trifling the latter appear ! Take a piece of
the finest lawn, look at it through a glass, and it
appears like canvas : take, on the other hand,
the meanest of the Almighty's works, and the
more you examine it the greater harmony and
symmetry you will find. '\ he pencilled-leaf
Geranium to the negligent and careless observer
appears a simple flower ; but examine it closely,
mark the pink veins that meander in every direc-
tion over its leaves, sometimes so delicate as to be
scarcely visible : study it well, and the more you
do so the more beautiful it will appear : and
learn thence to admire the skill and ingenuity
displayed in the works of the Creator.
Ingratitude, Buttercup. This plant is the most
mischievous of any in our meadows : cultivation
makes its bad qualities worse. It flowers from
May to August.
Injjistice, Hop. The Hop is made the emblem of
injustice, because its climbing tendrils stifle the
trees and plants which they entwine in their
embrace ; and the prodigious vegetation of the
whole plant speedily exhausts the soil upon
which it grows.
Innocence, Daisy. Page 51.
Inspiration, Angelica. This beautiful plant, which
grows in the northernmost countries, is employed
to crown the Lapland poets, who fancy them
selves inspired by its odour.
Intoxication, Vine. Anacharsis said that the Vine
produces three kinds of fruit, intoxication, de-
bauchery, and repentance ; and that he who is
284 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
temperate in speech, in diet, and in amusement,
must be an excellent man.
Irony, Sardonia. This plant has some resemblance
to parsley. It contains a poison, which has the
effect of contracting the mouth in so singular a
manner as to give the appearance of laughter to a
person at the point of death. Hence this horrible
laugh is called the sardonic i it is often seen
playing on the lips of Satire and cold Irony.
Joking, Balm Gentle. This plant gives out an
agreeable lemon smell : an infusion of it com-
poses the nerves and excites mirth.
Joy, Wood Sorrel. The Wood Sorrel, vulgarly
called Cuckoo's Bread, flowers about Easter.
This pretty plant every evening folds up its
leaves, closes its flowers and lets them droop, as
if to indulge in sleep: but at the first dawn of
day, you would say that it was filled with joy, for
it expands its leaves, opens its flowers, and, from
this circumstance, no doubt, it is said by the
country-people to give praise to God.
Justice shall be done to you, Sweet-scented Tus-
.silage. Page 208.
Keep your promises, Plum-tree. The Plum-tree is
every year covered with flowers ; but, if the hand
of the skilful gardener does not remove a portion
of this useless luxury, these trees will not have a
crop oftener than once in three years.
Life, Lucern. Page 106.
Lightness, Larkspur. The flower of the Larkspur
is papilionaceous, and of many different colours.
It owes its name to the singular form of its seed-
vessels, on which may be distinguised the joints
and claws of a bird's foot.
Longevity, Fig. The Fig has been made the em-
blem of longevity, on account of its wholesome-
ness, when ripe, and eaten in moderation. The
Andalusians eat this fruit before breakfast, and
they have this saying : En eso va la vida —
" On this life depends."
Love, Myrtle. Page 104.
, Rose. Page 114.
, Conjugal, Linden-tree. Page 94.
, Declaration of, Tulip. Page 71.
, First Emotio7is of, Lilac. Page 79.
, Fraternal, Syringa. One of the Ptolemies,
kings of Egypt, acquired celebrity for the love
280 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
which he manifested for his brother. A species
of the Syringa was consecrated to his memory ;
and, as surname, Philadelphia, which signifies
one who loves his brother, has been used to
distinguish this genus, two species of which are
Love, Maternal, Moss. Page 241.
, Pure, Pink. Page 137.
Majesty, Lily. Page 148.
Meanness, Cuscuta or Dodder. This plant, of
which there are five species, springs up out of the
earth from seed, and no sooner does its stalk meet
with that of another plant than it fastens upon it ;
its own root dies, and it then lives entirely at the
expense of others. Like a vile parasite, it absorbs
all the juices of its supporter, and it is not long
before it causes its destruction.
Melancholy, Dead Leaves. Page 232.
, Mind, Sorrowful Geranium. This
charming species of Geranium, like the melan-
choly mind, seeks obscurity, but it delights those
who cultivate it by its delicious scent. Its colour
is dark and unobtrusive, and it differs in every
respect from the scarlet Geranium, the emblem of
Message, Iris. There are more than thirty species
of Iris, both bulbous and with other roots. From
their brilliant and diversified colours, resembling
those of the rainbow, these beautiful flowers have
been named after the messenger of the gods. It
is well known that the fair Iris was the bearer of
good news only.
.Misanthropy, Fuller's Teasel. The flowers of the
Fuller's Teasel are armed with long, sharp thorns :
the whole plant has a surly look. It is never-
theless, handsome and useful : it is used by
clothiers and fullers to raise the nap on their
cloths, and has thence derived its name.
Mistrust, Lavender. It was formerly believed that
the asp, a dangerous species of viper, made La-
vender its habitual place of abode, for which rea-
son that plant was approached with extreme cau-
tion. The ancients used it largely in their baths,
whence its name, derived from the Latin verb
lax-are, to wash.
Modesty, Violet. Page 48.
Morals, Wild Rue. The Moly, which Mercury is
said to have given to Ulysses, as an antidote to
288 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Circe's beverage, is supposed to have been the
root of the wild Rue.
Mourning, Weeping Willow. Page 44.
, Cypress. Page 216.
Music, Reeds. Pan, who was in love with the
beautiful Syrinx, was pursuing her one day on
the bank of the river Ladon in Arcadia. The
Nymph implored the help of the river, which re-
ceived her into its waters, and transformed her
into a cluster of Reeds. Pan cut several of the
stalks of these Reeds of different lengths, and
with them is said to have constructed the shep-
My Bane, My Antidote, White Poppy. Page
My best days are past, Meadow Saffron. Page
My regrets follow you to the grave, Asphodel. In
ancient times, the Asphodel was planted near
tombs, and it was thought that beyond the Ache-
ron the shades of the deceased wandered in a vast
field of Asphodels, and drank the oblivious waters
Night, Night Convolvulus. There are several
species of beautiful bindweed that open only at
night. They are natives of hot countries.
Oracle, Rustic, Dandelion, Page 164.
Ornament, Hornbeam. This tree formerly consti-
tuted a principal ornament of large gardens. It
was employed to form long screens of verdure,
arches, obelisks, pyramids, and colonnades. Le
Notre has shown at Versailles with what skill
and taste he could introduce it into his noble com-
Patience, Patience Dock. The root of this plant
is frequently used in medicine, it is extremely
Peace, Olive. Peace, Wisdom, Concord, Cle-
mency, Joy, and the Graces, are crowned with
Olive. The dove sent out by Noah brought back
to the ark an Olive branch, as an emblem of that
peace which heaven had granted to the earth.
, Hazel Page 255.
Perfection, Strawberry. Page 127.
Poetry, Eglantine. The Eglantine is the poet's
flower. In the Floral Games it was the prize for
290 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
the best composition on the charms of study and
Power, Crown Imperial. The Crown Imperial,
which belongs to the family of the lilies, grows to
the height of two or three feet. The flowers are
formed by a circle of tulip-shaped corollas, turned
downwards, which have the appearance of so
many gay bells, the stigma answering for the
clapper ; the whole being crowned by a coma, or
tuft of green leaves, which gives to it a singular
and agreeable effect. Each of the bells contains
some drops of water, which adhere to the bottom
of the corolla till it withers : the footstalks of the
flowers then raise themselves to ripen the seed.
Prediction, Prophetic Marigold. This species of
Marigold opens regularly at seven o'clock and
remains open till four, if the weather is dry : if
it does not open, or if it closes before its accus-
tomed hour, you may be sure that there will be
rain during the day.
Preference, Apple Blossom. A handsome flower,
which promises fine and useful fruit, may be pre-
ferred to the rose itself.
Preference, Rose-scented Geranium. There are
more than a hundred specie* of the Geranium :
some are sad, others brilliant, some scented, and
others without smell. This, which is rose-scented,
is distinguished by the softness of its leaves and
the beauty of its flowers, as well as by its fragrant
Presumption, Snapdragon. On pressing the sides
of this flower, it opens like a gaping mouth, the
stigma representing the tongue. On removing
the pressure, the lips of the corolla snap together,
and hence its name. The monopetalous corolla
forms a mask, which resembles the face of an
animal. The French call it Calf's Snout, from a
supposed resemblance in the form of its seed-
vessel or fruit. This beautiful plant has been
judiciously introduced into our gardens, but, like
presumptuous people, it is sometimes troublesome
by spreading too far, and is consequently eradi-
Pride, Amaryllis. Gardeners account the Amaryl-
lis, of which there are numerous varieties a proud
plant, because even after the greatest care it re-
fuses to blossom. The Guernsey lily, is a splendid
species. The number of flowers is commonly
from eight to twelve, and the circumference of
each about seven inches. The corolla in its prime
292 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
has the colour of a fine gold tissue wrought on a
rose-coloured ground, and when it begins to fade
it is pink. In full sunshine it seems to be studded
with diamonds ; but, by candle-light, the specks
or spangles appear more like find gold-dust : when
the petals are somewhat withered, they assume a
deep crimson colour. The name of these beauti-
ful plants is derived from a Greek word signify-
ing to shine, sparkle, flash.
Privation, Myrobolan. This tree is not unlike the
plum-tree, and produces a fruit having the colour
and appearance of a beautiful cherry, but contain-
ing only a juice of a disagreeable flavour, so that
the very birds refuse to feed upon it.
Prohibition, Privet. Page 88.
Prompt?iess, Ten Weeks Stock. This plant springs
up very soon after it is sown, and blossoms within
ten weeks. As the flowers are but short-lived, if
you would enjoy them for any length of time, you
ought to keep sowing them from March till Au-
gust. Nothing can be more delightful than the
red, white, and purple tints of these flowers, which
give out a most fragrant smell.
Prosperity, Beech. The beech may be considered
as the rival of the oak for beauty of form and the
utility of its wood. It grows in any situation,
and shoots up with such rapidity that it is com-
mon to say you may see it grow.
Protection, Juniper. Page 258.
Purity, Star of Bethlehem. Nothing can be more
pure and pleasing than the appearance of this
lovely plant, which throws up in the month of
June a long bunch of star-like flowers, as white
Rarity, Mandrake. The ancients attributed extra-
ordinary virtues to the Mandragora, or Mandrake,
but, as they have not left any accurate description
of this plant, we know not the species to which
they gave the name. Our quacks, ever eager to
profit by ignorance, contrive, by a gross artifice,
to give the miniature figure of a man to different
roots, which they show to the credulous, assuring
them that these are real Mandrakes, which are
found only in a small and almost inaccessible dis-
trict of China. They tell them also that the
Mandrake cries lamentably when pulled up out
of the ground ; that the person who pulls up one
of these roots is sure to die soon afterwards : that,
in order to procure it, the earth must be dug away
294 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
from it, a cord tied round it, and the other end
fastened to a dog, which pulls it away, and then
has to pay the penalty of the impious deed.
Were we to collect all the absurd and supersti-
tious notions that have originated in ancient
errors, respecting the supposed virtues of plants
which never existed, they would form a curious
Recollections, Painful, Flos Adonis. Page 147.
Tender, Periwinkle. Page 89.
Reconciliation, Hazel. Page 255.
Reserve, Maple. The Maple has been made the
emblem of reserve, because its flowers are late in
opening and slow to fall.
Resistance, Tremella Nostoc. This is a gelatinous
plant, which has much engaged the attention of
men of science, but has hitherto escaped their
researches. It was in high repute with the
alchy mists of old, who, like the vulgar of the
present day, considered it to be the substance of
what are termed falling stars, and employed it as
such in their attempts to compose the philoso-
pher's stone and a universal panacea. Other
sages have regarded this gelatin as matter cast
up by hawks after eating frogs ; and others,
again, have supposed it to be a real animal. It
appears, however, that, as if to escape their
investigation, this plant and several more of the
same nature mutually transform themselves one
into another. It is found in the alleys of gardens
and in meadows. After cool and rainy nights, it
has been observed to cover the ground completely
in certain spots ; but a few hours' sunshine
causes it to disappear. In short nothing posi-
tive is yet known concerning the Tremella,
which continues to be a secret of Nature.
Resolution, Cress. The ancients were of opinion,
that those who eat Cress become firm and de-
cided, for which reason this plant was in great
Riches, Corn. Page 171.
False, Sun-flower. Page 195.
Royalty, Angrec. This is a parasitical plant of the
Molucca Isles. In Ternate, the females of the
blood royal wreathe it in their hair, but do not
allow slaves or servants to wear it. They
have reserved to themselves this exclusive right,
says a traveller, persuaded that Nature, by causing
this plant to grow only on elevated situations.
296 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
has clearly indicated that its flowers are designed
for the exclusive decoration of royally.
Rudeness, Clot Bur. The rough and prickly Clot
Bur, which possesses neither beauty nor utility,
though continually banished from our fields,
always finds its way back to them.
Rupture, Greek Valerian. Pliny relates that several
Kings contested the honour of having first disco-
vered this plant : hence it received the name of
Polemonium from the Greek word polemos,
Rupture of a Contract, Broken Straw. Page 183.
Sadness, Dead Leaves. Page 232.
Secrecy, Maiden Hair. Page 203.
Self-love, Narcissus. Page 63.
Separation, Carolina Jasmine. Page 161.
Sickness, Field Anemone. In some countries
people imagine that the flowers of the Field
Anemone are so pernicious as to taint the air,
and that those who breathe its emanations are
liable to severe illness.
Silence, White Rose. The god of silence was
represented under the form of a young man, half-
naked, with the fore-finger of one hand on his
lips, and holding a White Rose in the other.
Love was said to have given him this Rose, in
order to propitiate his favour. The ancients
placed a carved Rose over the doors of their ban-
queting rooms, to caution their guests not to
repeat anything that might be said there.
Simplicity, Single Rose. Simplicity embellishes
beauty itself, and throws a veil over deformity,
Clemence Isaure, who instituted the Floral Games,
allotted a Single Rose as the prize of eloquence.
Skill, Spider Ophrys. Arachne was a very clever
embroideress, who ventured to challenge Minerva
to a trial of skill in the practice of the art. The
offended goddess changed her imprudent rival
into a spider. The Spider Ophrys resembles the
insect, which, under its repulsive form, has lost
none of the skill of its predecessor.
Sleep, Poppy. From the Poppy is obtained lauda-
num, which soothes the senses and induces sleep.
Snare, Catchfly. The Catchfly is an appropriate
emblem of the gross snares spread for imprudent
youth. Flies, attracted by its smell, are caught
by the viscous matter which covers its flower-
298 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
stalks, &nd holds them so fast that (hey cannot
Solitude, Heath. Page 91.
Sorrow, Yew-tree. Page 252.
Soilness of Temper, Barberry. The fruit of the
Barberry is extremely sour : the shrub that bears it
is armed with thorns, and the flowers possess such
irritability, that, at the slightest tuuch, all the
stamina fold round the pistil. Thus this tree
exhibits all the different characters of ill-tempered
Spell, Circsea or Enchanters' Nightshade. This
plant, as its name intimates, is famous in magical
incantations. Its flower is rose-coloured, streaked
with purple. It is found in damp, shady situa-
tions : and is fond of growing upon the ruins of
buildings and tombs.
Stoicism, Box-tree. The Box is fond of the shade:
it is an evergreen, enduring cold and heat, requi-
ring little care, and flourishing for many years.
Strutagem, Walnut. The city of Amiens was
taken by the Spaniards, in 1599, by a singular
stratagem. Some soldiers, disguised as country-
men, came up to the gate with a cart load of
Walnuts. Here they untied one of the sacks
containing the nuts ; the latter fell out, as soon as
the gate was opened and the cart Legan to move,
and, while the guards were busy picking them
up, a body of Spaniards, who were in ambush,
fell upon them, and made themselves masters of
Strength, Fennel. The gladiators mixed this plant
with their food, to increase their strength : and,
after the games in the arena, the victor was
crowned with Fennel.
Stupidity, Scarlet Geranium. Page 210.
Surliness, Thistle. The Scotch order of the This-
tle is a gold chain, entwined with flowers of the
Thistle, and bearing this motto — J\*e?no impune
lacessit — " Nobody annoys me with impunity."
Surprise, Truffle. This curious vegetable has ever
been a subject of surprise to the observer. It has
neither root, stalk, nor leaves. The Truffle grows
under the ground, and never appears above the
Suspicio?i, Champignon. There are several species
of Champignons, which are known to be deadly
poisons. The Ostiaks, a Siberian tribe, make
with three heads of the Agaricus muscarius a
300 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
preparation which will kill the strongest man in
twelve hours. Several of the Champignons of
this country also are very dangerous ; some of
them contain so acrid a liquid, that a single drop
will blister the tongue : yet the Russians, daring
their long Lent, subsist almost entirely on
Champignons; and by the French they are es-
teemed a great delicacy. People ought, however,
to be very suspicious of them, and to steep before
they eat them in boiling water. This process
deprives them at once of their smell and dange-
rous properties, if they are not of a wholesome
Sympathy, Thrift. This plant is mentioned by
Pliny under the name of Statice, derived from a
Greek word, which signifies making to stop, as
this plant, by growing in sandy situations, is found
to retain and stop the movement of the sands and
to bind them together by its roots. Thrift is
chiefly employed in gardens, for borders. It is
found on every part of our coasts, where its favou-
rite soil seems to be a marine mud or 002*3, mixed
with the shingles of the sea-beach, and on this
account, as well as from its grassy leaves, it is
generally called the Sea-Pink. Phillips says,
that he has seen it so abundant on a little
common between Lancing and Worthing, in
Sussex, as to form a complete green turf in winter,
enamelling the ground from May until August by
a mass of pink flowers, which form a charming
contrast with the blue of the ocean.
Tears, Helenium. The flowers of the Helenium
resemble small suns of a beautiful yellow.
They blow in autumn with the asters. They
are said to have been produced by the tears of
Temptation, Quince. It has been asserted that the
golden fruit in the garden of the Hesperides were
Quinces, and that these tempted Hercules to
attack the dragon which guarded them : in confir-
mation of this conjecture, a statue of the demi-god,
holding a Quince in his hand, as a trophy, is
referered to. It is also alleged that it was by
means of Quinces given to him by Venus that
Hippomenes amused Atalanta during the race
with her, and won it. It is further supposed that
the fruit of the forbidden tree, which Eve was tempt-
ed to pluck, was the Quince and not the apple, as it
is generally believed.
302 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Thankfulness, Agrimony. This is a pretty cam-
panula, whose flowers, of the most delicate lilac
colour, hang from the stalk like bells. The French
call it Religieuse des Champs, " Nun of the
Fields," a name, probably given out of gratitude
to this pretty, salutary, and useful campanula, in
memory of some kind, tender, and compassionate
Think of me, Heart's-ease. Page 56.
Ties, Tendrils of climbing plants, which entwine
and bind fast every thing they come near.
Time, White Poplar. The White Poplar raises its
lofty head on a straight trunk, covered with silvery
bark, to the height of ninety feet or more. The
ancients consecrated it to Time, because the leaves
of this handsome tree are in constant motion, and,
being dark on one side and white on the other,
they indicate the alternation of day and night.
Timidity, Marvel of Peru. Page 219.
Tranquillity, Stonecrop. The ancients regarded
Stonecrop as a cure for hydrophobia ; it is still
sometimes resorted to in that dreadful malady.
Treachery, Bilberry, or Whortleberry. (Enomaup,
father of the beautiful Hippodamia, chose for his
attendant the yoaag Myrtillus, son of Mercury.
Proud of his skill, he insisted that all the suitors
who aspired to the hand of his daughter should
compete for the prize in a chariot-race with him.
Pelops, who wished to obtain Hippodamia, pro-
mised Myrtillus a large reward, if he would take
out the linch-pin of his master's chariot. Myr-
tillus was not proof against the offer : in conse-
quence, the chariot was overturned and (Enomaiis
killed : but, as he expired, he implored Pelops to
avenge him, which he did, by throwing the trea-
cherous attendant into the sea. The waters hav-
ing borne back his body to the shore, Mercury
changed it into the shrub, called, by a corruption
from his name, Whortleberry, or Bilberry. It
grows on the sea-shore in cool and shady places.
Its pretty bell-flowers are succeeded by berries of
a dark blue, of a tart and agreeable flavour.
Truth, Bitter-sweet Nightshade. The ancients
thought that Truth was the mother of Virtue,
the daughter of Time, and queen of the world.
It is a common saying with us that the Truth
conceals hersalf at the bottom of a well, and that
she always mingles some bitterness with her
blessings : and we have given for her emblem a
useless plant that, like her, delights in shade, and
304 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
is always green. The bitter-sweet Nightshade is,
I believe, the only plant in this country that loses
and re-produces its leaves twice a year.
Union, Whole Straw. Page 183.
Uselessness, Meadow-Sweet. This plant is con-
sidered as an emblem of uselessness, because doc-
tors have not discovered any medicinal virtues in
it, and animals refuse to eat it.
Utility, Grass. Grasses are the most common, but
perhaps the most useful family of the vegetable
War, Achillea-millefolia. This plant heals all
wounds made with iron. It is said to have been
used by the hero whose name it bears to heal the
wounds of Telephus.
Warmth of Feeling, Peppermint. Minthes was
surprised by Proserpine in the company of her
gloomy spouse. The enraged goddess changed
her rival into a plant, which seems to comprehend
in its double flavour the coldness of fear and the
warmth of love. This plant we cultivate by the
name of Peppermint, to which we are indebted
for the cordial water and lozenges named after it.
Weakness, Musk plant. This plant has so mild
and delicate a scent, that it is agreeable even to
persons who have a particular dislike to musk.
Wisdom, White Mulberry-tree. The ancients called
the White Mulberry the wisest of trees, because
it is very late before it unfolds its leaves, in which
respect it is the reverse of the almond-tree. A
spray of the almond-tree tied up with one of the
mulberry intimates that wisdom ought to temper
You are cold, Hortensia. The Hortensia is a plant
of recent introduction into our European gardens.
Though its clusters of flowers are alternately
tipped with white, red, and purple ; though its gen-
eral figure is showy, and it looks well in a room ;
still the eye soon tires of its cold beauty : it is the
image of a coquet, who, destitute, of the qualities
of the mind, and heart, strives to please solely by
the arts of dress.
You are my divinity, American Cowslip. The
elegant and single stalk of this plant rises from
the centre of a tuft of broad leaves that lie flat on
the ground. In April, it is crowned with twelve
pretty pink flowers reversed. Linneus has given
306 LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
to it the name of Dodecatheon, which signifies
twelve divinities. It is, perhaps, rather a pom-
pous name for so modest a flower ; but on that
point botanists, and especially lovers, are not very
You are perfect, Pineapple. The Pineapple, sur-
rounded with its handsome leaves, and surmounted
by a crown, which is employed for its propagation,
has the appearance of being sculptured in pale
gold. It is so beautiful that it seems to be made
only to delight the eye ; so delicious that it com-
bines the varied flavours of all our best fruits : and
so fragrant, that it would deserve to be cultivated
solely for the sake of its perfume.
Vim are radiant ivith charms*, Ranunculus. Early
in spring, the dazzling Ranunculus adorns our
gardens with its brilliant flowers, glowing with
a thousand colours, resplendent with a thousand
charms. Scarcely any plant rewards the culti-
vator with such a striking diversity of tints, or
affords so rich a view.
Your charms are engraven on my heart, Spindle-
tree. This shrub is thus named, because its wood
is used for making spindles. Crayons also are
prepared from it. It is in request with sculptors
and turners. Tf its wood is valuable to artists
the shrub which furnishes it ought to be esteemed
by the farmer : the hedges formed with it appear
in autumn loaded with red berries that produce a
very pretty effect.
Your looks freeze me, Ice plant. The leaves of
this singular plant are covered with transparent
vesicles full of water. When the plant is in the
shade, it looks as if covered with dew ; when in
the sunshine, it seems to be powdered with frozen
crystals, that give it a brilliant appearance, and
hence it derives its name.
Your presence revives me, Rosemary. Hungary
water is made with Rosemary : it refreshes the
spirits and dispels dizziness and fainting.
Your qualities surpass your charms, Mignonette.
Youth, White Lilac. From the purity of colour
and the short duration of its beautiful clusters of
blossom, White Lilac is the emblem of youth, of
that fleeting and inestimable blessing which all
the treasures of the world cannot redeem.
DICTIONARY OF FLOWERS,
THEIR EMBLEMATIC SIGNIFICATIONS.
My regrets follow you to
Balm of Gilead,
Sourness of Temper.
Touch me not.
Do me justice.
You are my divinity
LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
I share your sentiments,
I will think of it.
The rustic Oracle.
I feel your kindness.
Forget me not.
Think of me.
Generous and Devoted
You are cold.
Your looks freeze me.
I attach myself to you.
I attach myself to you.
I die if neglected.
First emotions of love.
Lily of the Valley,
Return of Happiness.
, and Cypress,
Marvel of Peru,
My best days are past.
Coquetry, Desire to
Your qualities surpass
I surmount all Diffi-
I shall not survive you,
LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS,
Warmth of feeling.
You are perfect.
Keep your promises.
, White, My Bane, my Antidote.
You are radiant with
Beauty ever new.
A young Girl.
A heart unacquainted
LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
St. John's wort,
Star of Bethlehem,
, Ten Week,
Your presence revives
Beware of Excess.
Your charms are engra-
ven on my heart.
Rupture of a Contract.
Tendrils of climbing
I declare war against
Declaration of Love.
Justice shall be done to
LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
Fidelity in Misfortune.
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
The Roman Catholic Monks, or the observers of
the Roman Catholic ritual, have compiled a Cata-
logue of Flowers for every day in the year, and
dedicated each flower to a particular saint, on account
of its blooming about the time of that saint's festival.
These appropriations form a complete Calendar of
The figures attached express the year in which
the saint died.
1. Laurustinus, Vibernum tinus. St. Faine, or
Fanchea, an Irish saint of the sixth century.
322 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
2. Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris. St. Macarius of
3. Iris, Persian, Iris persica. St. Genevieve, pa-
troness of Paris, 422.
4. Hazel, Corylus avellana. St. Titus, disciple of
5. Hellebore, Helleborus fsetidus. St. Simeon
Stylites of Rome.
6. Moss, screw, TorUda rigida, St. Nilammon.
7. Laurel, Portugal, Prunus lusitanica. St. Ken-
8. Tremella, yellow, Tremella deliquescens. St.
Gudula, patroness of Brussels.
9. Laurel, common, Primus lauro-cerassus, or com-
mon small-fruited cherry. St. Marciana of
10. Gorse, or Furze, Ulex europseus. St. William
of Bourges, 1207.
11. Moss, early, Bryum hornum. Swan-neck
thread-moss. St. Theodosius.
12. Moss, hygrometric, Funaria hygrometrica. St.
13. Yew-tree, common, Taxus baccata. St. Ve-
ronica, a nun of Milan, 1497.
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 323
14. Strawberry, barren, Fragavia sterilis. St.
15. Ivy, Hedera helix. St. Paul, the first hermit.
16. Nettle, common red Dead, Lamium purpureum.
St. Marcellus, Pope.
17. Anemone, garden, Anemone hortensis. St.
Anthony, patriarch of monks, 251.
18. Moss, four-toothed, Bryum pellucidum. St.
Prisca, a Roman martyr.
19. Nettle, white Dead, Lamium album. St. Mar-
tha, a Roman martyr, 270.
20. Nettle, woolly Dead, Lamium Gargaricum.
St. Fabian, Pope.
21. Hellebore, black, Helleborus niger. St. Agnes,
a special patroness of purity ; beheaded at
the age of thirteen, 304.
22. Grass, early whitlow, Draba -verna. St. Vin-
cent, a Spanish martyr.
23. Peziza, Peziza acetabolum. St. Raymond of
24. Moss, stalkless, P has cum muticum. St. Timo-
thy, disciple of St. Paul, 250.
25. Hellebore, winter, Helleboris hyemalis. The
Conversion of St. Paul.
324 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
26. Butter-bur, white, Tussilago alba, or Colt's-foot.
27. Moss, earth, Phasctim cuspidatum. St. Chry-
28. Daisy, double, Bellis perennis plenus. St.
Margaret of Hungary, 1271.
29. Fern, flowering, Osmunda regalis. St. Francis
of Sales, 1622.
30. Spleen-wort, .Isplenium trichomanes. St. Mar-
31. Hart's Tongue, or Spleen-wort, Asplenium
scolope?idrium. St. Marcella, 410.
1. Moss, lesser water, Fontinalis minor. St. Ig-
natius ; and Bay-tree, Laurus nobilis. St.
Bridget, patroness of Ireland.
2. Snow-drop, Gala?ithus nivalis. Purification of
the Virgin Mary.
3. Moss, great water, Fontinalis anti-pyretica. St.
Blase of Armenia, 316.
4. Moss, common hair, or Goldilocks, Polytrichum
commune. St Jane, or Queen Joan, 1505,
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 325
Bay, Indian, Laurus Indica. St. Margaret of
5. Primrose, common, Primula vulgaris. St. Aga-
tha, a Sicilian martyr.
Primrose, red, Primula acaulis. St. Adelaide,
6. Hyacinth, blue, Hyacinthus orientalis. St.
7. Cyclamen, round-leafed, Cyclamen coum. St.
8. Moss, narrow-leafed sping, minium androgynum.
St. John of Malta, 1213.
6. Narcissus Roman, J\"arcissus Romanus. St.
10. Mezereon, Daphne mezereon, St. Scholastica,
Moss, silky fork, .Mnium heteromallum. St.
Coteris, fourth century.
11. Primrose, red, Primula verna rubra. St.
Theodora, empress, 367.
12. Anemone, noble Liverwort, Anemone hepatica.
St. Eulalia of Barcelona.
1 3 . Poly anthos, Primula Polyanthos. St. Catherine
de Ricci, 1589.
14. Crocus, yellow, Crocus mwsiacus, or Crocus
326 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
aureus. St. Valentine, the lovers' saint.
He was a priest at Rome, and married there
about the year 270.
15. Crocus, cloth of gold, Crocus sulphureus. St.
Sigifred, bishop of Sweden, 1002.
16. Primrose, lilac, Primula 'acaulis plena. St.
17. Crocus, Scotch, Crocus susianus. St. Flavian,
archbishop of Constantinople, 449.
18. Speedwell, wall, Veronica venius arvensis.
St. Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, 116.
19. Speedwell, field, Veronica agrcslis. St. Barba-
tus, patron of Benevento, bishop, 6S2.
20. Cynoglossum omphalodes, or C. lusitanicum.
St. Mildred, abbess of Munster.
21. Crocus, white, Crocus albus. St. Servianus,
22. Margaret, herb, Bellis perennis. St. Margaret
of Cortona, 1297.
23. Apricot-tree, Prunus armeniaca. St. Milburge
24. Fern, great, Osmunda regalis. St. Ethelbert,
King of Kent.
25. Peach blossom, *1mygdalun persica. St. Wal-
burg, abbess, of Swabia, Germany.
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 327
26. Periwinkle, lesser, Tinea minor. St. Victor,
27. Lungwort, Pulmonaria officinalis. St. Lean-
cer, bishop, 596.
28. Crocus, purple, Crocus vermis. St. Proterius,
patriarch of Alexandria, 557.
1. Leek, common, Allium porrum. St. David of
Wales, archbishop, 544.
2. Chickweed, dwarf mouse ear, Ceraslium pumilum.
St. Chad, or Ceada, martyr, under the Lom-
bards, in the sixth century.
3. Marigold, golden fig, ^Mesembvyanthemum au-
reum. St. Cunegunda, empress, 1040.
4. Chickweed, common, Alsine media. St. Casi-
mir, prince of Poland, 1458.
5. Hellebore, green, Helleborus viridis. St. Adrian,
6. Lily, Lent, Pseudo narcisstis multiplex. St.
7. Daffodil, early, JVarcissus simplex. St. Per-
petua, martyred under the emperor Severus,
328 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
8. Rose, ever-blowing, Rosa Semper/lor ens. St.
Kosa, of Viterbo, 1261.
Jonquil, great, Narcissus Isetus. St. Felix,
9. Daffodil, hoop-petticoat, Narcissus bulbocodium.
St. Catherine of Bologna, 1463.
10. duckweed, upright, Veronica triphyllos. St.
Droctavaeus, abbot, 580.
11. Heath, Cornish Erica vagans. St. Eulogius
of Cordova, 851.
12. Ixia, or crocus-leaved Misletoe, Ixia bulboco-
dium, or Visciun albus bulbus. St. Gregory
the Great, Prsetor of Rome, 574.
13. Heart's Ease, Violo tricolor. St. Euphrasia,
14. Bindweed, mountain, Soldanela alpina, St.
Maud or Matilda, queen, 968.
15. Colt's-foot, common, Tussilago far far a. St.
Zachary, Pope, 752.
16. Daffodil, nodding, Narcissus nutans. St. Julian
17. Violet, sweet, Viola odorata. St. Gertrude,
Shamrock, White Trefoil, Trifolium repens.
St. Patrick, apostle of Ireland.
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 329
18. Leopard's bane, great, Doronicumpardalianches.
St. Cyril, archbishop of Jerusalem, 386.
19. Star of Bethlehem, yellow, Ornithogalum
luteum. St. Joseph, spouse of the Virgin
20. Violet, dog's, Viola canina. St. Wolfram,
archbishop of Sens, 720.
21. Fumitory, bulbous, Fumaria bulboza. St.
Bennet or Benedict, founder of the Order of
Benedict, of Rome, 543.
22. Ficaria verna. St. Catherine of Sweden, abbess,
23. Daffodil, peerless, JYarcissiis incomparabilis.
St. Alphonsus Turibius, archbishop of Lima,
24. Saxifrage, golden, Chrysosplenium oppositi-
folium. St. Irenseus, bishop of Sirmium,
25. Marigold, Calendula officinalis. Annunciation
of the Virgin Mary.
26. Henbane, nightshade-leafed, Hyosciamus sco-
palia. St. Braulio, bishop of Saragossa,
27. Jonquil, sweet, Narcissus odorus. St. John of
Egypt, hermit, 394.
330 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
28. Leopard's bane, Doronicum plant agineum.
St. Priscus, 260.
29. Ox-lip, or great Cowslip, Primula elatior. St.
Eustatius, abbot, 625.
Fumitory, Fumaria officinalis. St. Jonas,
30. Water-cress, Cardamine hirmta. St. John of
Daffodil, lessor, J\'arcissus minor. St. Zosi-
mus, bishop of Syracuse, 660.
31. Benjamin-tree, Laurus benzoin. St. Benjamin,
deacon, martyr, 424.
1. Mercury, French annual, Jferrurialis annua.
St. Hugh, bishop, 1132.
2. Violet, white, Viola alba. St. Francis of Paula,
a native of Calabria.
3. Alkanet, evergreen, Jnchnsa sempervirens. St.
4. Crown Imperial, red, Friiillaria imperialis. St.
Isidore, bishop of Seville, 636.
5. Crown Imperial, yellow, Friiillaria imperialis
lufea. St. Vincent Ferrer, 1419.
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 331
6. Hyacinth, starch, Hyacinthus racemosus, St.
Sixtus I., Pope.
7. Anemone, wood, Anemone nemorosa. St.
Aphraates, fourth century.
8. Ground-Ivy, Glechoma hederacea, St. Diony-
sius, bishop of Corinth.
9. Polyanthos. red, Primula. St. Mary, of Egypt,
10. Violet, pale, Viola tonbrigens, St. Mechtildes,
abbess, fourteenth century.
11. Dandelion, Leontodon taraxacum. St. Leo
the Great, Pope, 461.
12. Saxifrage, great thick-leafed, Saxifraga crassi-
folia. St. Zeno, bishop, 380.
13. Narcissus, green, Narcissus viridijlorus. St.
Hermenegild, martyr, 586.
14. Borage, common, Boraga officinalis. St. Lid-
15. Stitchwort, greater, Stellaria holestea. St.
Peter Conzales, 1246.
16. Tulip, yellow, Tidipa silvestris. St. Joachim
of Sienna, 1305.
17. Arum, Friar's cowl, broad-leafed, Arum arisa-
rum. St. Stephen of Citeaux, abbot, 1 1 34.
332 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
18. Narcissus, musk, Narcissus moschahis. St.
19. Garlic, Allium ursinum. St. Leo IX., Pope,
20. Snowflake, spring, Leucoium vernum* St.
Agnes of Monte Pulciano, 1317.
21. Narcissus, cypress, Narcissus orientalis albus.
St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury.
22. Crowfoot, wood, or Goldilocks, Ranunculus
auvicomus. St. Rufus of Glendaloch.
23. Harebell, Hyacinlhns non scriptus. St. George
the martyr, patron of England.
24. Black thorn. Primus spinosa. St. Fidelis.
25. Tulip, clarimond, Tulipa precox. St. Mark,
26. Erysimum, yellow, Erysimum barbarea. St.
Richarius, abbot, 645.
27. Daffodil, great, Narcissus major. St. Anasta-
sius, Pope, 401.
28. Arum, spotted, Arum maculatum. Saints
Didymus and Theodora, 304.
29. Herb Robert, Geranium Robertianum. St. Ro-
bert, abbot of Molesme, 1110.
30. Cowslip, Primula veris. St. Catherine of
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 333
1. Tulip, Gesner, Tidipa gesnerina. St. Philip,
supposed to have been the first of Christ's
Bachelor's Button, Lychnis dioica. St. James
the just and the less, apostle, martyred in the
tumult in the Temple.
2. Charlock, Ruphanus raphanislrum, or Sinapvs
arvensis. St. Athanasius, patriarch of
3. Narcissus, poetic, Narcissus poeticus. The
discovery of the Cross, 326.
4. Stock Gilliflower, Cheiranthus i?ica?ius. St.
Monicla, mother of St. Augustine.
5. Apple-tree, Pyrus mains. Sts. Angelus and
Pius V. Pope, 1572.
6. Globe Flower, bright-yellow, Trollius europseus.
St. John Damascene, 780.
7. Globe Flower, Asiatic, bright-orange, Trollius
asiaticus. St. John of Beverly.
8. Jjily of the Valley, Convallaria majalis. St.
9. Lily of the Valley, Convallaria multifora. St.
Gregory of Nazianzen, 389.
334 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
10. Peony, slender-leafed, Psconia tennifolia. St.
Comgal, Irish abbot, 601.
11. Asphodel, Lancashire, Asphodehis lutens. St.
Mammertus, archbishop of Vienna, 477.
12. Iris, German, Iris Germanica. St. Gerinanus,
patriarch of Constantinople, 733.
13. Comfrey, common, Symphytum officinalis. St.
John the silent, bishop, 558.
14. Peony, common, Pseonia officinalis, and Peony,
corrallinc, P. corrallina. St. Pontius, 258.
15. Poppy, Welsh, Papavtr cambricum. St.
Dympna, seventh century.
16. Star of Bethlehem, great, Ornilhogalum umbel-
latum. St. John Nepomucene, 1383.
17. Poppy, early red, Papaver argemone. St.
18. Mouse-ear, or Hawkwced, Hieracium pilosella.
St. Eric, King of Sweden, 1151.
19. Monk's hood, Aconilum napellus. St. Dun-
stan, archbishop of Canterbury, 988.
20. Horse Chestnut, ^Eschylus hippocastanum.
St. Bernardine of Sienna, 1444.
21. Ragged Robin, Lychnis fos cvculi. St. Felix
of Cantalico, 1587.
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 335
22. Star of Bethlehem, yellow, Tragopogon pra-
tensis. St. Yvo, 1303.
23. Lilac, Syringa vulgaris. St. Julia, fifth cen-
24 Poppy, monkey, Papaver orientale. St. Vin-
cent, of Lerins, 450.
25. Herb Bennet, common, Geum urbanum. St.
Urban, Pope, 223.
26. Rhododendron, purple, Rhododendron ponti-
cum. St. Augustine, archbishop of Canter-
Azalea, yellow, Azalea pontica. St. Philip
27. Buttercup, Ranunculus acris. St. John, Pope,
Bachelor's Button, yellow, Ranunculus acris
plenus. St. Bede. 735.
28. Iris, lurid, Iris lurida. St. Germain, bishop of
29. Blue-bottle, Centaurea mo?itana. St. Cyril,
30. Spearwort, lesser, Ranunculus Jlammula. St.
Ferdinand III. Confessor, King of Castile
and Leon, 1252.
31. Lily, yellow Turk's cap, Lilium pomponium.
St. Petronilla, first century.
336 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
1. Rose, yellow, Rosa lutea. St. Justin, martyr,
2. Pimpernel, common scarlet, Anagallis arvensis.
St. Erasmus, 303.
3. Rose of Meaux, Rosa provincialis . St. Cecilius,
4. Indian Pink, Dianthus chinensis. St. Quirinus,
5. Rose, three-leafed China, Rosa sinica. St.
Boniface, first missionary from England to
Friesland ; afterwards archbishop of Mentz,
and primate of Germany and Belgium,
6. Pink, common, Dianthus deltoides. St. Nor-
7. Centaury, red, Chironia centaureum. St. Paul,
bishop of Constantinople, 350.
8. Money-wort, Herb Two-pence, or creeping
Loosestrife, Lysimaclda nummularia. St.
Medard, bishop, sixth century.
9. Barberry, Berberis vulgaris. St. Columba,
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 337
10. Iris, bright yellow, Iris pseudo-acovus. St.
Margaret, queen of Scotland, 1093.
11. Daisy, midsummer, Chrysanthemum leucan-
themum. St. Barnabas, apostle, first cen-
12. Rose, white dog, Rosa arvensis. St. John,
13. Ranunculus, garden, Ranunculus asiaticus.
St. Anthony of Padua, 1231.
14. Basil, sweet, Ocimum basilicum. St. Basil,
15. Sensitive plant, JWimosa sensitiva. St. Vitus,
martyr, fourth century.
16. Rose, Moss, Rosa muscosa. St. Julietta, mar-
17. Monkey -flower, yellow, Mimnlus luteus. St.
Nicandeo, about 303.
18. Poppy, horned, Chelidoniunt glaucum. St.
Marina, eighth century.
19. La Julienne de Nuit, Hesperis tristis. St.
Juliana Falconieri, 1340.
20. Poppy, doubtful, Papaver clubium. St. Silve-
rius, Pope, 538.
21. Bugloss, Viper's, Eckium vulgare. St. Aloy-
338 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
22. Canterbury Bell, Campanula medium. St.
Paulinus, bishop of Nola, 431.
23. Ladies' Slipper, Cypripedium calceolus. St.
24. St. John's wort, Hypericum pulchrum. Na-
tivity of St. John the Baptist.
25. Sweet William, Dianthus barbatus. St. Wil-
liam of Monte Vergine, 1 142.
26. Sowthistle, Alpine hairy blue, Sonchus cseru-
leus. St. Reingarda, 1135.
27. St. John's wort, perforated, Hypericum perfora-
tum. St. John of Montier, sixth century.
28. Cornflower, blue, Ceutaurea cyanus. St. Ire-
naeus, bishop of Lyons, 202.
20. Rattle, yellow, Rhinanthus crista-galli. St.
Peter the apostle.
30. Cistus, yellow, Cistus helianthemum. St.
Paul the apostle.
1. Agrimony, Agrimonia eupatoria. St. Aaron.
2. Lily, white, Lilium candidum. Virgin Mary.
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 339
3. Mallow, common, JMalva sylvestris, St. Pho-
cas, a gardener, 303.
4. Day Lily, tawny, Hemerocallis fidva. St. Ulric,
bishop of Augsburg.
5. Rose, double yellow, Rosa sulphurea. St.
Edana, of Elphin and Tuam.
6. Hawkweed, Crepis barbata. St. Julian, ancho-
rite, fourth century.
7. Nasturtium, Tropseohan majus. St. Felix, bishop
of Nantes, 584.
8. Primrose, evening (Enothera biennis. St. Eliza-
beth, queen of Portugal, 1336.
9. Sowthistle, marsh, Sonchus palustris. St.
10. Snapdragon, speckled, Antirrhinum triphyllum.
Saints Rufina and Secunda, 257.
1 1 . Lupine, yellow, Lupinus flavus. St. James,
bishop of Nisibis, 350.
12. Snapdragon, great, Antirrhinum purpureum.
St. John Gualbert, abbot, 1073.
13. Lupine, yellow, Lupinus hursutus. St. Euge-
nius, bishop, 505.
14. Lupine, red, Lupinus per ennis. St. Bonaven-
ture, cardinal bishop, 1274.
340 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
15. Marigold, small Cape, purple and white, Calen-
dula pluvialis. St. Swithen, bishop, 862.
16. Convolvulus, Convolvulus purpureas. St. Eu-
stathius, patriarch of Antioch, 338.
1 7. Sweet-Pea, Lathyrus odoratus. St. Marcellina,
18. Marigold, autumn, Chrysanthemum coronarium.
St. Bruno, bishop, 1125.
19. Hawkweed, golden, Hieracium auranticum.
St. Vincent de Paule, 1660.
20. Dragon's head, Virginian, Dracocephalus Vir-
gi7iia?ium. St. Margaret of Antioch.
21. Lily, Piladelphian, LiliumPhiladelphicum. St.
22. Lily, African, Agapanthus umbellatus. St.
23. Musk flower, Scabius atro-purpurea. St.
Apollinaris, bishop of Ravenna.
24. Lupine tree, Lupinus arboreus. St. Lupus,
25. Herb Christopher, white, Actxa spicata. St.
26. Chamomile, or Corn Feverfew, Matricaria
chamomilla. St. Ann, mother of the Virgin
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 341
27. Loose-strife, Ly thrum salicaria. St. Panta-
28. Groundsel, mountain, Senecio montanus' St.
Innocent I., Pope, 417.
29. Chironia, red, Chironia centaurium. St. Martha.
30. Mullein, white, Verbascum lychnitis. St. Ju-
31. Mullein, yellow, Verbascum virgatum. St.
Ignatius, of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits,
1. Stramony, or Thorn-apple, Datura stramonium.
St. Peter and Vincula.
2. Tiger Lily, Lilium tigrum. St. Alfrida, 834.
3. Hollyhock, Althea rosea. Discovery of the relics
of St. Stephen, 415.
4. Bluebell, Campanula rotundifolia. St. Do-
minic, founder of the Friar Preachers, 1221.
5. Lily, Egyptian water, JVelumbo nilotica. St.
Mary ad Nives.
6. Meadow Saffron, Colchicum autumnale. Trans-
figuration of our Lord on Mount Tabor.
342 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
7. Amaranth, common, Jlmaranthus hypochondria-
cus. St. Cajetan, 1547.
8. Love lies bleeding, Ameranthus procu?nbens.
9. Ragwort, yellow, Seneciojacobsea. St. Romanus.
10. Balsam, lmpatiens balsamea. St. Lawrence,
11. China Aster, Aster Chinensis. St. Susanna,
12. Sowthistle, great corn, Sonchus arvensis. St.
Clare, abbess, 1253.
13. Groundsel, marsh, Great Fen Rag-wort, or
Bird's Tongue, Senecio paludosus. St.
14. Zinnia, Zinnia elegans. St. Eusebius, third
15. Virgin's Bower, white, Clematis vitalba. As-
sumption of the Virgin Mary ; or the mira-
culous ascent of her body into heaven.
16. Lily, belladonna, Amaryllis belladonna. St.
17. Snapdragon, Toadflax, Antyrrhinum li?iaria.
St. Manus, 275.
18. Marigold, African, Tagetes erecta. St. Helen,
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 343
19. Timothy grass, branched Cat's Tail grass.
Phleum panniculatam, or Ph. asperum.
St. Timothy, 304.
20. Dandelion, Leontodon serotinus. St. Bernard,
21. Marigold, French, Tagetes patula. St. Jean
Francois de Chantal, 1641.
22. Timothy, common Cat's Tail grass, Phleum
pratense. St. Timothy, 311.
23. Tansy, common, Tanacctum vulgare. St.
Philip Beniti, 1285.
24. Sunflower, tall, Helianthus amiuus. St. Bar-
25. Sunflower, perennial, Helianthus multijlorus.
St. Louis, king of France, 1270.
26. Amaryllis, banded, Amaryllis vitata. St. Ze-
phyrinus, Pope, 219.
27. Hawkweed, hedge, Hieracium umbellatum. St.
Caesarius, archbishop of Aries, 542.
28. Golden rod, Solidago, Virga aurea. St. Au-
gustine, bishop, 430.
29. Hollyhock, yellow, Althea flava. St. Sabinus,
king, about 697.
30. Lily, Guernsey, Amaryllis samiensis. St. Rose
of Lima, 1617.
344 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
31. Pheasant's eye, Adonis aittumnalis. St. Ray-
mund Nonnatus, 1240.
1. Orphne, or livelong, great, Sedum telephium.
St. Giles, patron of beggars and cripples.
Born at Athens ; abbot of Nismes, in France ;
2. Golden rod, Solidago. St. Margaret, thirteenth
3. Flea-bane, common yellow, Inula dysenterica,
St. Simeon Stylites, the younger, 592.
4. Soapwort, pale pink, Soponaria officinalis. St.
Rosalia, 11 GO.
5. Mushroom, or champignon, Agaricus campestris.
St. Laurence Justinian, first patriarch of
6. Dandelion, Leontodon autmnnalis. St. Pambo,
of Nitria, 385.
7. Starwort, golden, Aster solidaginoides. St. Cloud,
8. Starwort, Italian blue, Aster amellus. St. Adrian,
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 345
9. Golden rod, Canadian, Solidago canadensis. St.
10. Crocus, autumnal, Crocus autumnalis. St. Pul-
cheria, empress, 453.
11. Meadow Saffron, variegated, Colchicumvariega-
tum. St. Hyacinthus, 257.
12. Passion-flower, semilunar, Passiflora peltata.
St. Earns with, abbess, seventh century.
13. Crocus, officinal, Crocus sativus. St. Eulogius,
patriarch of Alexandria, 608.
14. Passion flower, blue, Passijlora ccerulea. Ex-
altation of the Holy Cross, 629.
15. Saffron, Byzantine, Cclchicum Byzanticum.
St. Nicetas, fourth century.
1 6. Starwort, sea-blue, Aster tripolium. St. Editha,
17. Mallow, narrow-leafed, JMalva angustifolia.
St. Lambert, bishop, 709.
18. Staiwort, pendulous, Aster pendulus. St.
Thomas, archbishop of Valencia, 1555.
19. Scabius, Devil's bit, Scabiosa succisa. St.
20. Meadow Saffron, common, Colchicum autum-
nale. St. Eustachius.
346 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
21. Passion flower, fringed-leafed, variegated, Pas-
si jlora-ciliata. St. Matthew, the Evangelist.
22. Boletus tree, Boletus arboreus. St. Maurice,
23. Starwort, white bushy, Aster dumosus. St.
Thecla, first century.
24. Fungus, Agaricus fimetarius. St. Gerard,
25. Boletus, great, order Fungi, Boletus bovlnus.
St. Ceolfrid, abbot, 716.
26. Golden rod, great, Solidago gigantea. St.
27. Starwort, white small-leafed N. American,
Aster muhijlorus. St. Delphina, 1323.
28. Golden rod, evergreen, Solidago sempervirens.
St. Eustochium, 419.
29. Michaelmas Daisy, Aster tradescanti. St.
Michael and all Angels.
30. Amaryllis, golden, Amaryllis aurea. St. Je-
1. Amaryllis, lowly, Amaryllis humilis. St. Re-
migius, bishop of Rheims, 533.
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 347
2. Soapwort, Saponaria officinalis. Feast of the
holy guardian Angels.
3. Helenium, downy, Helenium pubescens. St.
Dionysius, the Areopagite, 51.
4. Southernwood, dwarf, Artemisia abrotanum. St.
Francis of Assisi, founder of the order of
5. Chamomile, starlike, a fungus, Boltonia aster oides,
St. Placidus, 546.
6. Feverfew, creeping-rooted, Pyrethrum serotinum.
St. Bruno, founder of the Carthusian order,
7. Chrysanthemum, Indian, Chrysanthemum indi-
cum. St. Mark, Pope, 336.
8. Maudlin, sweet, Achillea ageratwn. St. Bridget,
9. Mushroom, milky, Agaricus lactijluus acris, or
A. Lisieri. St. Denys, patron saint of
10. Aletris, Cape waved-leafed, Aletris viridifolia.
St. Francis Borgia, 1572.
11. Holly, common, Ilex aquifolium. St. Ethel-
12. Fleabane, wavy, Inula undulata. St. Wil-
fred, bishop of York, 709.
348 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
13. Helenium, yellow smooth, Helenium autwnnale.
St. Edward, King and Confessor, 1066.
14. Fleabane, Indian, Inula indica. St. Calixtus,
15. Sweet Sultan, purple, Centaurea moschata. St.
16. Yarrow, Achillea millefolium. St. Gall, abbot,
17. Sunflower, dwarf, Helianthus indicus. St.
18. Mushroom, Agaricus floccosus. St. Luke,
19. Tick-seed, perennial, Coreopsis procera. St.
Frideswith, patroness of Oxford, eighth
20. Sweet Sultan, yellow, Centaurea suaveolens.
St. Artemius, 362.
21. Silphium, hairy-stalked, Silphium asteriscus.
St. Ursula, fifth century.
22. Silphium, rough, three-leafed, Silphium trifolia-
tum. St. Nunilo, 840.
23. Starwovt, slender stalked, Aster junceus. St.
24. Starwort, Carolina, Aster carolinus ftexuosus.
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 349
St. Proclus, archbishop of Constantinople,
25. Starwort, fleabane, Jister Conizoicles. St.
Starwort, meagre, Aster miser. St. Cris-
pinian, 287. — These were brothers and
martyrs, shoemakers, and patrons of that
26. Golden rod, late-flowered, Solidago petiolaris.
St. Evaristus, Pope, 112.
27. Starwort, floribund, Aster Jloribundus. St.
Frunientius, apostle of Ethiopa, fourth cen-
28. Chrysanthemum, late-flowering creeping,
Chrysserotinum, St. Simon, Apostle, the
Starwort, scattered, Aster passijlorns. St.
29. Narcissus, green autumnal, J\*arcissiis viridi-
flortis. St. Narcissus, bishop of Jerusalem,
30. Mushroom, mixen, Agaricus fimetarius. St.
Marcellus, the centurion, 298.
31. Tick-seed, fennel-leafed, Coreopsis ferulafolia.
St. Quintin, 287.
350 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
1. Laurustinus, Laurustinus sempervirens. St.
2. Cherry, winter, Physalis. St. Marcian, 387.
3. Primrose, Primula vulgaris. St. Flour, 389.
4. Strawberry tree, Arbutus. St. Brinstan, bishop
of Winchester, 931.
5. Cherry, common winter, Physalis alkakengi.
St. Bertille, abbess of Chelles, 692.
6. Yew-tree, common, Taxus baccata. St. Leon-
ard, sixth century.
7. Furcrsea, Furcrsea gigantea. St. Willebord,
first bishop of Utrecht, 738.
8. Alctris, Cape, Veltheimia. The four crowned
Brothers, martyrs, 304.
9. Aletris, glaucous-leafed, Veltheimia glauca. St.
10. Fir, Scotch, Pinus sylvestris. St. Nymph a,
11. Pine, Weymouth, Pinus strobus. St. Martin,
12. Aloe, great orange-flowering, Veltheimia, or
Aletris uvaria. St. Nilus, 390.
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 351
13. Bay, Laurus poetica. St. Homobonus, 1197.
14. Laurel, Portugal, Ceraciis lusitanica. St.
Lawrence, archbishop of Dublin, 1180.
15. Colt's-foot, sweet-scented, Tussilago fragrans.
St. Gertrude, abbess, 1292.
16. Hemp, African bow-string, Sanseviera gui-
neensis. St. Edmund, archbishop of Can-
17. Stramony, or Thorn-apple tree, Datura arborea.
St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, bishop, 270.
18. Passion-flower, notched-leafed, Passijlora ser-
ratifolia. Dedication of the Churches of
St. Peter and St. Paul at Rome.
19. Passion-flower, apple-fruited, Passijlora mali-
formis. St. Elizabeth of Hungary, 1231.
20. Stapelia, red, Stapelia rubra. St. Edmund,
King and martyr, 870.
21. Sorrel, wood, Oxalis grandiflora. Presenta-
tion of the Virgin Mary.
22. Sorrel, wood, tube-flowered, Oxalis tubifiora.
St. Cecilia, martyr and patroness of music,
particularly of sacred music ; supposed to be
the inventress of the organ, 230.
23. Sorrel, convex, Oxalis convexula. St. Cle-
ment, Pope, 100.
352 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
24. Stapelia, starry, Stapelia radiata. St. John of
the Cross, 1591.
25. Butterbur, sweet, Tussilago fragrans. St.
Catherine, patroness of spinsters, third cen-
26. Sorrel, linear, Oxalis linearis. St. Conrad,
bishop of Constance, 976.
27. Sorrel, lupine-leafed, Oxalis hipinifolia, St.
Virgin, bishop of Salzburg, 784.
28. Stapelia, variegated, Stapelia variegata. St.
Stephen the younger, 764.
29. Sphenogyne, 5. pilifora. St. Saturninus, bishop,
30. Sorrel, three-coloured, Oxalis tricolor. St.
1." Stapelia, dark, <S'. pulla, St. Eligius, bishop of
2. Geodorum, lemon, Geodorum citrinum. St.
3. Indian tree, Euphorbia tirucalle. St. Francis
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 353
4. Gooseberry, Barbadoes, Cactus pereskia. St.
5. Hibiscus, long-stalked, H. pedunculatus. St.
6. Heath, nest-flowered, Erica nudiflora. St.
Nicholas, archbishop, of Myra, 342.
7. Achania, hairy, Achania pilosa. St. Ambrose,
8. Arbor Vita?, American, Thuja occidentalis,
Blessed Virgin Mary.
9. Spruce, Corsican, Pinus laricio. St. Leocadia,
10. Cypress, Portugal, Cupressus pendula. St.
11. Pine Aleppo, pinus halepensis. St. Damascus,
12. Heath, crowded, Erica abietina. St. Ead-
13. Arbor Vitse, African, Thuja cupressoides. St.
Lucy, martyr, of Syracuse, 304.
14/ Pine, swamp, Pinus palaustris. St. Spiridion,
15. Pine, pitch, Pinus resinosa. St. Florence,
354 CALENDAR OF FLOWERS.
16. Arbor Vitae, Chinese, Thuja orientalis. St.
Adelaide, empress, 999.
17. Cedar, white, Cupressus thyoides. St. Olyni-
18. Cypress, New Holland, Cupresses australis.
St. Winebald, 760.
19. Heath, two-coloured, Erica bicolor. St. Sam-
thana, abbess, 738.
20. Stone-pine, Finns pinea. St. Philogonius,
bishop of Antioch, 322.
21. Sparrow 7 - wort, Erica passerina. St. Thomas,
22. Heath, pellucid, Erica pellucida. St. Cyril,
23. Cedar of Lebanon, Pinus cedrus. St. Victoria,
24. Pine, frankincense, Pinus ixda. Sts. Thra-
silla and Emiliana.
25. Holly, Ilex aculeata baccifera. Nativity of
26. Heath, purple, Erica purpurea. St. Stephen,
27. Heath, flame, Erica fiammea. St. John, the
CALENDAR OF FLOWERS. 355
28. Heath, bloody-flowered, Erica cricenta. Holy
Innocents, who suffered from Herod's cruelty.
29. Heath, Erica genistopha. St. Thomas, arch-
bishop of Canterbury, 1170.
30. Ponthieva, glandular, Ponthieva glandulosa.
St. Anysia, 304.
31. There is no flower appropriated to this day.
, rose, 270.
Achillea millefolia, 30C.
Adonis, Flos. 14(5.
Amaranth, 220, 261.
Amaryllis, 2 ;2.
, field, 298.
Apple blossom, 231.
Aster, China, 187, 261.
Balm of Gi lead, 2(58.
, gentle, 285
Broom, 109. 262.
Cactus, Virginia, 280.
Calendar of Flowers, 321.
Canterbury Bell, 267.
Chestnut tree, 270.
Clot Bur, 297.
Convolvulus, night, 290.
Cornel Cherry-tree, 243. Geranium, rose scented, 292.
Cowslip, American, 308. , scarlet, 210.
Cress, 2'J7. , sorrowful, 287.
Crown Imperial, 241. Grass, 306.
Cypress, 210. Hawthorn, 67.
Daffodil, 03. Heart's ease, 50.
Daisy, 51. . Heath, 91.
, garden, 281. Helenium, 303.
•, wild, 281. Heliotrope, Peruvian, 192.
Dandelion, 164. lkpatica, 267.
Day Lily, yellow, 176. Holly, 249.
Dictionary of the language Hollyhock, 200.
of flowers, 261. " Honeysuckle, 107.
Flower, with Hop, 284.
their emblematic signi- Hornbeam, 290.
fieations, 309. Horse-chestnut, 77.
Dittany, 266. Hortensra, 307.
Dock, patience, 290. Hyacinth, 276.
Ebony-tree. 264. Introduction, 9.
Eglantine, 29J. Ipomaea, 280.
Fennel, 301. Ivy, 236.
Fir-tree, 270. Jasmine, 132.
Flax, 280. , Carolina. 161.
Flower-de-Luce, 273. , Indian, 280.
Flowers, Calendar of, 317- Jonquil, 271.
Dictionary of the Juniper, 258.
Language of, 261.
. , with Language of Flowers, Dic-
their emblematic signifi- tionary of, 261.
cations, 311. Larch, 265.
Flower-writing, illustration Larkspur. 286.
of, 260. Laurel, 247.
Forget-Me-Not, 163. Laurustinus. 244.
Fraxinella, 273. Lavender, 288.
Fuller's Teasel, 288. Leaves, Dead, 232.
Geranium, pencilled leaf,287. , white, 310.
Lily of the Valley. 85.
London Pride, 275.
Maiden Hair, 203.
, prophetic, 291,
, and Cypress,
Marvel of Peru, 219.
Meadow Saffron, 204.
Moon wort, 274.
Mulberry-tree, black, 280.
, white, 307.
. Enchanter's, 300
Ophry's spider, 299.
Orange tree, 277.
Orchis bee, 271.
Passion Flower, 271.
, yellow, 269.
. wild, 282.
Poplar, black. 267.
. white, 304.
Poppy, 167, 299.
, wild, 267.
, large -flowered
, Hundred leaved, 277.
, monthly, 263.
, Musk. 263.
, white, 298.
, withered, 263.
, vellow. 283.
, white, 279.
Rue, wild, 289.
Sainfoin, shaking, 262.
St. John's wort, 130.
Sensitive Plant. 17G.
Sorrel, wood, 265
Star of Bethlehem, 294.
, Ten-week, 293.
Straw, broken. 183,298.
. whole. 1H3. 306
Sweet Sultan 278.
Sweet William. 073.
Tansov. wild, 280.
Tendrils of climbing plants,
Tremella IVostoc, 296.
, Greek, 297.
Venus's Looking glass, 273.
, white, 266.
Willow, weeping, 44.